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NWO grant for research on new self-healing materials

24 August 2022
The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded an ENW-M2 grant to Célia Fonseca Guerra (Theoretical Chemistry, VU Amsterdam) and Anja Palmans (Supramolecular Chemistry and Catalysis, TU Eindhoven).

The grant entails 720.000 euros of funding for a combined experimental and computational research to develop novel materials that bond to form chemically crosslinked networks, but also have the ability to debond on demand. This allows healing of the material when damaged and permits to reuse the material when needed.

Polymeric materials, commonly referred to as plastics, are part of nearly every aspect of our daily lives and have become essential for our modern society to function. Different approaches are currently explored by both academia and industry to address the global challenge to reduce plastic waste. One of these approaches is the development of crosslinked materials applied in coatings and thin films that can be easily repaired and reused. Palmans and Fonseca Guerra propose to introduce semi-permanent chemical crosslinks into the materials, and hereby achieve a balance that enhances the longevity and potential of reuse of crosslinked materials. Such versatile materials are accessible owing to the combination of reversible supramolecular bonds with tunable dynamic covalent bonds.

The M2 grant encompasses two PhD students who will closely collaborate. One PhD student will perform experimental research in Eindhoven and the other one computational research in Amsterdam. Furthermore, investments in experimental equipment and a HPC cluster are included in the grant.

About the NWO Open Competition Domain Science-M
M-grants are intended for realising curiosity-driven, fundamental research of high quality and/or scientific urgency. The M-grant offers researchers the possibility to elaborate creative and risky ideas and to realise scientific innovations that can form the basis for the research themes of the future.

More information can be found on the website of NWO.