Research Highlights: Yasuhito Suzuki
Yasuhito’s research has the goal of enabling the development of thermoplastic-based fiber-reinforced composites (FRCs) for large structures like wind turbine blades. The use of thermoplastics instead of thermosets can potentially improve recyclability and shorten the cycle time. Although it has long been proposed, the fabrication of thick thermoplastic composite is still challenging.
In his research, Yasuhito focuses on reactive processing via bulk free-radical polymerization using vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM). One of the important challenges is controlling the temperature during the curing reaction; free-radical polymerization is highly exothermic and has an auto-acceleration nature. Yasuhito's team developed a mathematical model to predict the temperature profile during the cure to optimize the process. In parallel, they are trying to chemically adjust the exotherm during the cure.