Flexible membrane wave energy converters (mWECs) need novel elastomeric materials of high fatigue life that have reliable data. We will obtain submerged bi-axial fatigue data for novel graphene and carbon nanotube filled elastomers. mWECs have potential for significant cost reduction compared with rigid material WECs. Elastomeric composite membrane structures can simplify all aspects of WEC design including the primary mover, power take-off (PTO), and other sub-systems. The bottlenecks to their practical and large-scale commercial applications are twofold, polymers with small amounts of standard filler particles have low fatigue life; higher percentage filler creates unwanted energy dissipation during cyclic loadings. Additionally, most material data exists for uni-axial fatigue in ‘dry’ conditions. Therefore, we aim to synthesize ultra-low dissipative and high fatigue life filled polymers with the required stiffness to be used in flexible polymeric structures for wave energy. In this project, enhanced properties will be achieved by using a synergy of carbon black, graphene, and carbon nanotube within low dissipative natural rubbers (NR). One advantage of NR are the existing manufacturing routes for full scale, ensuring scalability for mWEC manufacture. A novel two part method: firstly material synthesis and characterisation through classical ‘dry’ experiments and secondly a brand new, state of the art, test facility for bi-axial fatigue in temperature controlled seawater will be used to bi-axially characterize fatigue life and dissipative properties to deliver trustworthy material data to enable new WEC designs.
Dr. Mokarram Hossain - Principal Investigator
Dr. Mokarram Hossain's research interests lie in the wide and interdisciplinary areas of soft polymeric and active functional materials from experiments to computational modelling. Dr Hossain has been active in the areas of biological tissue modelling and polymeric material characterizations. Recently, Dr Hossain is interested in responsive gels (e.g. hydrogels, ferrogels) and self-healing soft materials. Dr Hossain has obtained research grants from industry for energy harvesting using electro-active polymers from Ocean Waves in the Wales Coast.