Professor Glenn Hibbard receives Connaught Innovation Award
Professor Glenn Hibbard of the department of materials science and engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has received a Connaught Innovation Award in recognition of his work inventing a sustainable industry material for the circular economy.
“We weren’t trying to make just the strongest material, or make it the most light-weight,” says Hibbard. “We wanted it to be the greenest structural material we could build, and so sustainability was a part of the design of our material right from the beginning.”
The Hibbard Group has invented a new melt-stretching technique to manufacture thermoplastic sandwich panels – a flexible three-layer material used in a range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, construction and shipping. The new product is called FLYCORE. It is lighter and fully recyclable, unlike current sandwich panels on the market, which are energy intensive to produce and destined for the landfill after one use.
“We simplified the development process from six steps to one and use just a single recyclable material to make the entire panel,” says Hibbard. “The panel can be crushed to collapse and then re-melted and re-stretched without any loss of performance.”
Commercial interest in FLYCORE is picking up in the multi-billion dollar sandwich panel market. Hibbard and his team will use the Connaught Innovation Award funding to transition from testing FLYCORE in the lab to getting it market-ready for interested industry partners.