Success story

Russian researchers develop polymers stronger and lighter than aluminum and steel

15 Oct '20
Scientists from the Kabardino-Balkarian State University named after Kh.M. Berbekov (KBSU) and Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) jointly developed polymer composite materials that are 10 times stronger and 50% lighter than aluminum and are promising, in particular, in the aviation industry. This was announced by the vice-rector of KBSU, head of the university mirror engineering center Elbrus Svetlana Khashirova.
“The technical tests of the material are completed, full cycle. They made products from polymer composites and successfully carried out crash tests on a material that turned out to be stronger and lighter than aluminum. But the most important thing is that domestic matrices are used for it, whereas they are usually purchased abroad. As a result of the tests carried out, it turned out that composites can operate from -195 to +230 and are promising where it is necessary to replace aluminum with stronger and lighter materials, for example, in the aviation industry,” – Svetlana said.
According to her, the combination of SPbPU's technological competencies and advanced materials developed at KBSU thanks to the Elbrus University Mirror Engineering Center made it possible, in just a few months of joint work, to obtain polymer composite materials that are not only an order of magnitude superior to the strength of aluminum, but also twice as strong as steel, while 1.5 times lighter than aluminum and 4.5 times lighter than steel.

Khashirova noted that a key global trend in the development of polymer composites is the use of high-temperature thermoplastics as a binder, which are significantly superior in heat resistance and crack resistance to traditionally used epoxy resins.
“Thermoplastic heat-resistant composites are in high demand in aviation, space, medicine, automotive and other important industries. The main problem in obtaining such composites is to ensure the strength of the bond between the polymer matrix and the filler. The competence of KBSU in the field of synthesis of highly heat-resistant superconstructive polymers and the capabilities of SPbPU in the field of new production technologies for creating composite materials allowed us to solve this problem and obtain a material with excellent properties,” – explained Svetlana.
Successful interaction

The creation of consortia uniting advanced scientific schools is one of the most effective tools for obtaining breakthrough results and successfully solving the problems of the national project Science, Khashirova is sure.
“The value of our consortium with SPbPU lies precisely in the fact that it cooperates a world-class scientific center with a regional center of competence and not only provides additional opportunities for a regional university to move to the world level, but also allows us to use the potential of a regional university in advanced technologies. This is confirmed by the first breakthrough results brought by our interaction,” – Khashirova said.
In turn, Vice-Rector for Promising Projects of SPbPU, Head of the NTI Center of SPbPU New Production Technologies Alexey Borovkov noted that among the joint tasks with KBSU is the creation of end-to-end Russian technology from polymer production and composite production to the second processing.
“That is, the production of finished parts by various methods. An important part of this work is the creation of digital models of composite materials with different properties; in the era of the digital industry, this is important for all production specialists: from chemists and technologists to designers. Such developments allow reaching the world level in the field of additive technologies, advanced materials, digital design, applying the best practices for the digital transformation of Russian enterprises,” – the university press service quotes Borovkov.
About the center Elbrus

The agreement between KBSU and SPbPU on the creation of the Elbrus University Mirror Engineering Center was signed on September 3, 2020. Even before the agreement was signed, in-depth preparations were under way for the implementation of the first joint project to develop a new generation of composite materials for use in the aerospace industry. In the next academic year, the possibility of launching joint educational programs is being considered.
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