Federico Benazzo was awarded 1st-place at the 2021 Engineering Research Symposium in the undergraduate research competition for his research on fiberglass composites with self-healing polymer matrices. Self-healing polymers are a novel technology that is defined by the capability of the materials to repair themselves when damaged automatically.
In the AMATECH Lab at the Politecnico in Milan, Italy, Benazzo experimented with the implementation of self-healing polymer with an epoxy resin that has both thermoplastic and thermosetting behavior present in the polymer chain. He tested the healing properties under/with static fracture toughness tests and fatigue tests in hopes of creating a material that is capable of autonomous damage sensing and repair. If successful, the new composite has the potential to improve the lifetime of aerospace components and reduce the number of maintenance and repairs required for such components.
Self-healing composites have the capability of solving many of the difficulties that we currently face with the limits of composites and, therefore, could very well be the next step towards engineering systems that have a theoretically infinite lifetime and can autonomously repair their damage,” Bennazzo said.
Now, he is continuing his research at the Aerospace Material Laboratory under the direction of Professor Sodano. Federico Benazzo is a senior in the undergraduate University of Michigan Department of Aerospace Engineering. He is a member of MASA, the aerospace engineering honor society, Sigma Gamma Tau, and plays on the Michigan Man water polo team.