Dylan’s research focuses on fiber-reinforced polymer composites and the synthetic techniques used to fabricate these materials. His PhD work revealed that the chemorheological response of a reacting polymer solution can be tuned by judicious alteration of the concentration and molecular weight of a pre-formed polymer used to make the solution. This thermoplastic resin system can be used in vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) to fabricate structures such as wind turbine blades or boat hulls. Further research showed that these materials introduce enhanced recyclability that is not possible with traditional thermosetting composites. Dylan also designed biobased infusible resin systems by characterizing the fundamental solution properties (coil size and solvent quality) of the resin. These biobased resins have potential to markedly reduce the embodied energy of composite parts.
Dylan’s present projects include mechanical testing to develop a robust database of mechanical properties of composites fabricated with thermoplastic resins; machine learning for prediction of chemorheological response of reactive resin systems; investigation of the effect of defects in composite parts by in situ mechanical loading of composite parts while conducting X-ray CT scanning; and characterization of recycled carbon fibers by XPS, SEM, and X-ray CT and investigation of how the surface treatment affects mechanical properties.
Research funded by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI)