Andrew Richards

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2023

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FURI | Fall 2021

Effects of Crosslinker Molecular Weight on Mechanoresponsive Polymer Nanocomposites

This project aims to improve the performance of a previously researched nanocomposite which fluoresces when physically damaged/strained. Shortening the amine crosslinker used is hypothesized to increase crosslink density and cause the fluorescence mechanism to activate at lower strain levels. This damage detection would prove useful in aerospace manufacturing or building materials as an early warning system of failing parts before humans are at risk. However, testing indicates that crosslinkers of greatly reduced length lead to tough, elastically deforming nanocomposites which inhibit the fluorescence mechanisms. Future research would vary the resin/crosslinker ratio of the previously researched long crosslinker.


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Additional projects from this student

Tuning the physical properties of a smart polymer will improve the safety of buildings or vehicles by detecting damage prior to failure.


  • FURI
  • Summer 2021