vub wapenschild

Physical Chemistry and Polymer Science @ VUB

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Science and pintjes brussels

Science and pintjes brussels

23.09.2017 - 23.09.2017

You like science and pintjes ? So, come to see Maxime to hear about organic solar cells during a science outreach event in a bar, with a relaxed atmosphere and beers/drinks.

Robots can heal themselves - paper published in Science Robotics

Robots can heal themselves - paper published in Science Robotics


Our paper featuring self-healing soft robotics was published in Science Robotics, including being on the cover !!! Soft robotics are rapidly gaining importance for applications involving the handling fragile objects or interactions with humans. However, due to the intrinsic softness of the materials employed, they are quite sensitive to small cuts or perforations. In this paper, reversible covalent networks based on the Diels-Alder reaction between furan- and maleimide-functionalised molecules where used to build self-healing robotic actuators. Actuators that were cut or perforated nearly completely regain their properties after healing them with a little heating. Due to the concept of the material, healing repeated damage in the same location is feasible and the material can be recycled. Our work on the development of self-healing polymers and their application was supported by the European Research Council (ERC), Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), and the Strategic Initiative Materials in Flanders (SIM). Reference: Seppe Terryn, Joost Brancart, Dirk Lefeber, Guy Van Assche and Bram Vanderborght, "Self-healing soft pneumatic robots", Science Robotics 16 Aug 2017: Vol. 2, Issue 9, eaan4268

Maxime Defour Invited Speaker for Instituto Cervantes and CEBE

Maxime Defour Invited Speaker for Instituto Cervantes and CEBE


Instituto Cervantes and CEBE (Spanish Scientists in Belgium) organize a round table to discuss the potential of solar energy. They will host a set of panellists who will give us an insight on the matter from an artistic, social and scientific point of view. Thanks to Ruben Salgado’s photographies– which will be part of the first photo festival Brassage Photographique in Villiers- they will be able to realize the lives of inhabitants of remote areas who, for the first time, have access to electricity through the power of solar energy. Photovoltaic cells are devices that convert the energy of light directly into electricity. Maxime Defour – who does a PhD on this subject at VUB- will introduce the state-of-the-art for low-cost solar cells such as organic solar cells.

Supramolecular thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomer materials with self-healing ability - paper published in NPG Asia Materials

Supramolecular thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomer materials with self-healing ability - paper published in NPG Asia Materials


Our paper titled "Supramolecular thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomer materials with self-healing ability based on oligomeric charged triblock", by Lenny Voorhaar, Maria Mercedes Diaz, Frederic Leroux, Sarah Rogers, Artem M Abakumov, Gustaaf Van Tendeloo, Guy Van Assche, Bruno Van Mele and Richard Hoogenboom, got published by NPG Asia Materials. In this study we demonstrate the unique mechanical properties of phase-separated electrostatic supramolecular materials based on mixing of low molar mass, oligomeric, ABA-triblock copolyacrylates with oppositely charged outer blocks. A broad set of materials having systematic variations in triblock copolymer structures was used to provide insights in the mechanical properties and and self-healing ability in correlation with the nanomorphology of the materials. This research was supported by the Strategic Initiative for Materials (SIM-Flanders Project NAPROM).

Selected Research Topicsgo to research


Thermosets (epoxy, polyurethane, polyester, ...) are characterized by a macromolecular network architecture of high crosslink density and have a glass transition temperature beyond the application temperature. The network formation might be triggered by heat, light, atmospheric plasma. The following aspects are studied: reaction mechanism, cure kinetics and modelling, reaction-induced structure ...

Organic photovoltaics

The main objective is to achieve a more profound understanding of the OPV blend nanomorphology-performance relationship by means of the physicochemical characteristics of the active components (solubility, molecular weight, polydispersity, aggregation phenomena, crystallization kinetics, kinetics of phase separation). Unravelling this relationship provides a fundamental toolbox to engineer the ...

Self-healing polymers

Self-healing polymers are smart stimuli-responsive materials eabling to restore properties to avoid damage. As an example, self-healing polymers should undergo mechanical healing in response to an applied stimulus. Such healable polymers and composite materials offer the ability to prolong the functional lifetime of their resulting structures and coatings.

Advanced thermal analysis

The FYSC research team is contributing to the international progress of thermal analysis for materials' characterization, especially in the field of Modulated Temperature DSC (MTDSC), spatially localised thermal analysis (Micro-TA and Nano-TA), (ultra)fast thermal analysis (Rapid-scanning DSC and Chip Calorimetry) and hyphenated thermal techniques (Rheo-DSC). This work involves the development of ...

Selected Publicationsgo to publications