Flexible electrothermal heaters have attracted a growing interest because of their broad applications in wearable electronics, including warming garments, and as flexural warmers for medical devices and vehicles. Traditional electrothermal materials such as ferro chromium (FeCr)-based alloys have disadvantages such as heavy weight, rigidity and low heating efficiency. Indium tin oxide (ITO) is widely used in commercial products due to its high transparency and high electrical conductivity. However, the finite reserve of indium has resulted in an increasing price of production, which is a drawback to its extensive use. In addition, ITO has a slow thermal response, and worst of all, it is not suitable for flexible applications because of its fragility.
This project will develop carbon-based materials and polymers substrates for electrothermal applications. A particular focus will be placed on the analysis of general findings of how to tune the electrothermal properties of carbons, what is the mechanism and how the carbons are superior to the currently available materials on the market.
This project will develop electrothermal heaters for various real-world applications. Research activities can include:
- synthesis of carbon coatings
- characterisation using various microscopy and spectroscopy techniques such as SEM, Raman, XPS etc.
- preparation of polymer substrates
- fabrication and testing of electrothermal heaters.
The supervisory team has a strong track record and a wide range of expertise in chemistry, materials science, thermal properties. This is symbiotic opportunity to work with a well-established, highly collaborative research group environment using cutting-edge instruments at the Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF). This will provide you with an effective and rich learning experience.
The project will provide an advanced understanding of carbon-based coatings and electrothermal heaters for various applications, with a potential breakthrough in the creation of high performance heaters for automotive and wearable applications.
The technological applications of this research will bring opportunities to work with local and international industries.
The best results of this research are expected to be:
- published in high impact journals
- presented in the national and international conferences.
Skills and experience
The candidate is expected to have a strong background in chemistry, material science, physics and engineering.
Research experience in material synthesis and testing of thermal properties will be positively considered.
The research group is well-equipped and have all the required facilities.
Contact the supervisor for more information.