This Industrial MPhil is funded by the Leicester Innovation Hub (through European Development Fund monies) and the sponsoring organisation Structural Adhesives Ltd.
Synthetic structural adhesives such as polyurethanes and epoxides are currently used to assemble and impart strength to numerous devices. While they are an essential component to most devices, being able to bond metals, inorganic and organic components they are also the main physical barrier to disassembly and recycling. Of particular concern is the assembly of drive-chain motors and battery packs. We have recently highlighted the economic barriers to recycling devices such as lithium ion batteries is the extensive use of synthetic structural adhesives.
One of the main conclusions from the first critical review on design for recycling of lithium ion batteries was the need for de-bondable and sustainable adhesives. This project will highlight families of polymers that can be used and suggest rapid and cost effective ways of transforming them into structural thermoset polymers using cross-linking agents. The aim will be to use a variety of stimuli to de-bond the adhesives at end of life. The project will use a recently written review to produce structural adhesives which can be rapidly debonded. The work will involve the synthesis and characterisation of structural adhesives together with their mechanical properties. It will also characterise the conditions and rate at which they can be debonded.