Stronger composites by adding fine nanofibres

(31-05-2022) Timo Meireman added fine fibres to composites during his PhD to make them stronger.

Composites are ubiquitous in our lives, even if we often don't realize it. They often consist of sturdy glass and carbon fibres held together by an epoxy plastic. These strong and lightweight materials are used to make bicycles, airplanes and wind turbines.

Even though many composites are strong and light, there are still limits to what they can handle. For example, large hailstones falling on aircraft can still cause a great deal of damage. This impact can cause the layers of glass and carbon fibres to separate from each other.

"To limit damage like this, I put very fine fibres into the composites during my PhD. These so-called nanofibres make composites more resistant to impact," Timo explains.

"I made nanofibres that are even better at improving composites than was previously known. I then used these nanofibres to study in detail how well they can protect composites from damage," Timo concludes.

Read a more detailed summary or the entire PhD (embargo until 31/12/2026)


PhD Title: Nanofibre Toughening of Fibre Reinforced Epoxy Composites


Contact: Timo Meireman, Lode Daelemans, Karen De Clerck

Timo Meireman

Timo has since a young age been interested in the way all sorts of materials behave. After studying Latin and Mathematics during his first four years of high school, he focused his final two years on Science and Mathematics. Here, his love for the chemistry and mechanics of materials was further fueled.

Hence, his choice to pursue his studies as an engineer came of no surprise. He started his bachelors in Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at Ghent University in 2010. For his Masters, Timo completed a European degree in Materials Science specialized in textile Engineering. He attended his courses in four different countries, starting in Poland, Spain and Turkey, to finish his Masters studies with his thesis back in Ghent, Belgium. He graduated magna cum laude in 2015.

During his thesis he developed his love for nanofibres and composites and decided he wanted to study and improve how they break during a PhD. His work eventually led to six publications in international peer reviewed journals, two of which he was the main author. Today, he will share his love for nanofibres and composites with you.


Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke