Biopolymers & Biocomposites Workshop - August 14, 2012

Chad Ulven

Chad Ulven received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University (2001) and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2003 and 2005). He has been a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Department at North Dakota State University since August of 2005. He has been involved in the research of polymer matrix composites (PMCs) for various commercial and defense applications for the past 12 years. He is currently the principal investigator of 10 research projects related to composite material development totaling over $1.4 million and involving one post-doctoral research associate, eight graduate research assistants, and two undergraduate research assistants. He has co-authored 28 journal articles, nine U.S. Department of Defense technical reports, four book chapters, and over 66 conference papers related to PMCs. His most recent research interests include biobased PMCs, recycling of PMCs, advanced thermoplastic PMCs, and fire and impact damage in PMCs.

Presentation Abstract

The Design of Biocomposite Materials

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The ongoing development of biocomposite materials over the past several decades has brought about many innovations to an ancient technology. Materials science solutions to the shortcomings of biocomposites have provided vast improvements to their performance, but less attention has been devoted to understanding how to improve the method of designing these materials for various applications. This presentation will address methodologies of designing natural fiber filled thermoplastics and long natural fiber reinforced thermosetting resins. A modified rule-of-mixture approach to predicting tensile strength and modulus of different thermoplastics filled with different natural fiber sources is discussed along with hybridizing strategies which provide superior strength, stiffness, and reduced variability of performance to long natural fiber biocomposites. Examples of utilizing these techniques in applications which balance performance and cost will be presented.