Professor Jacob Fish receives NSF-DFG funding to develop multiscale data-physics models for interfaces in thermoplastic composites

November 01, 2023

Professor Fish will work with a team of researchers on a recently NSF-DFG funded project that will contribute new knowledge related to joining two dissimilar polymer layers employed in numerous industrial manufacturing processes, e.g., in automotive, aeronautics, energy, and biomedical applications. Key to these composite materials achieving the desired properties is that there is good adhesion at the interface between the two disparate components – currently this is achieved through simple ad hoc models and trial-and-error practices. The critical issue is the poor adhesion between these two layers, which often results in part failure, overdesign, and eventually ad hoc trial-and-error practices. The effect of various molecular processes and the role of each of the process/morphology parameter and their combined effect on the manufactured component is not well understood today. This award will support fundamental research to provide needed knowledge to understanding the bonding strength and fracture toughness by relating interface properties to molecular processes taking place at these critical interfaces. To address the fundamental issue of interface failure in overmolded thermoplastic parts the team will employ novel multiscale computational modeling, coupled to the evolving tools of machine learning, to quantitatively understand the factors that affect this key quantity, the adhesion strength and fracture toughness.

This multidisciplinary, transatlantic team is composed of Prof Jacob Fish, Prof Sanat Kumar (Columbia University, Chemical Engineering), Christian Hopmann (RWTH Aachen University, Institute for Plastics Processing), and Jaan-Willemm Simon (RWTH Aachen University, Institute of Applied Mechanics). This project is supported jointly by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG). (NSF award amount to Columbia: $777,782; 10/01/2023 – 09/30/2026)

Delamination between tape reinforcement and back molded polymer