Characterization of high-performance polymers for space applications

The general topic of the project is the investigation of the properties of high-performance polymers (essentially PEEK, PEI and blends of) for space applications. The work is in the framework of a larger project entitled “Design and advanced manufacturing of a lunar rover using thermoplastic composites”, which involves two other universities (Polytechnique and Université Laval) and many researchers. The main objective of the project is to design and manufacture a lightweight lunar rover through a collaborative project between an academic research team of ten researchers, from three institutions, and industrial partners. One of the sub-objectives of this project is to design thermoplastic composite materials that meet the requirements of the space environment (e.g., high temperature, resistance to radiation, low outgassing) which is the part of the project directly linked to this project. Indeed, in order to meet the material requirements for space applications, particularly for lunar rovers, new high-performance materials need to be developed since commercially available composites only partially meet the needs (e.g., limited mechanical performance, accumulation of electrical charges). Blends of high-performance thermoplastics (e.g., PEEK/PEI) will be loaded with proper fillers (e.g., microscale fillers: carbon fibers, nanoscale fillers: graphene) to yield the desired properties, in terms of electrical conductivity, field control, dielectric strength, erosion resistance and coefficient of thermal expansion. More specifically, the  candidate will investigate the electrical and dielectric properties of these materials. The practical objectives of the project are to predict the needed loading of graphene and/or carbon black in order to reach the desire conductivity and to investigate the effect of other additives such as boron nitrate on the material physical properties (thermal conductivity and neutron absorption). From a more theoretical standpoint, the microstructure-electrical properties relationship will be investigated and modelized.

Connaissances requises

Good knowlegde in material science and polymer processing. Knowlegde in the field of electrical characterization of polymers is a plus. 

Programme d'études visé

Maîtrise avec mémoire, Doctorat

Domaines de recherche

Matériaux et fabrication


21 k$ per year for PhD, 16 k$ for master

Autres informations

Starting : 2021-09-01 
Partners involved : NanoXplore, Canadian Space Agency, École Polytechnique 

Personne à contacter

Éric David |