Composite Materials lab

Lauren Schulman and Brian Palacios

The goal this week was to determine what we were going to do for our research and to compile the resources for it. We decided that for our research, we wanted to develop a new composite material. We considered various materials, including graphene, carbon fibers, human hair, cement, and epoxy resin. After conducting further research in these materials, we finalized our research idea. Our research is aimed at developing a low density, environmentally friendly composite syntactic foam concrete material. We have two goals in mind for the concrete.

  1. Develop a concrete that is environmentally friendly by incorporating the non-degradable materials, e.g., human hair and fly ash.
  2. Create a foam composite structure that optimizes durability and strength in the concrete while minimizing the density.

To achieve these goals, we plan to create a composite concrete using fly ash, glass microballoons, and human hair. The fly ash and human hair are non-degradable waste products that end up in the landfill if they are not reused. Using these waste products in concrete will help the environment. The fly ash and glass microballoons will help to reduce the density of the concrete while increasing its strength. However, if the percentage of fly ash and microballoons is too large, then the durability and strength of the concrete might be compromised. The human hair might help to reinforce the foam concrete mixture when high percentages of microspheres are included. We hope to begin testing our initial samples on Monday with the compression test machines and the optical and electron microscopes.