The project management is responsible for the content of the information provided.
This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by
The following funding partners are also contributing to the success of this project: EPFL Enable Grants; Venture Kick; EPFL Innogrant; FIT (Fondation pour l’Innovation Technologique); Lausanne Région; SPEI (Service de la promotion de l'économie et de l'innovation); ESABIC Switzerland; InnoSuisse; SIT4Impact;, Space4Impact.
The following institutions/companies are bringing technical expertise to the project: FHNW (The University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland); KATZ (Plastic Training and Technology Center); Tissa Glasweberei, Bcomp Ltd., MB Composites.
Project no: GRS-041/19
Amount of funding: CHF 150'000
Duration: 09.2019 - 03.2021
Area of activity:
InnoBooster, seit 2018
Dr. Amaël Cohades
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
EPFL STI IMX LPAC
1015 Lausanne (Schweiz)
- amael.cohades@epfl. ch
Composite materials (made of carbon, glass or natural fibres embedded in a resin to create a strong and lightweight material) are widely used in aerospace, automotive, wind, marine and sport industries. The global composites market is of 83 Bn$ and grew by 40% since 2014. However, a main limitation of composites is their sensitivity to damage; early cracking of the resin often takes place, leading to a risk of failure. Users can either repair or replace the part. Both choices imply high costs and a negative footprint. At CompPair, we bring smart and sustainable material products to overcome this drawback. The new materials enable: repeated damage healing with a moderate heat trigger; usage as resistant and lightweight material; compatibility with current manufacturing processes; easier recycling. Even though this technology can be applied to many industries to extend the life-time of composite structures, we first focus on the marine and sport industries with a first product: smart prepregs (preimpregnated textiles) integrating our chemistry. Our smart prepregs form a high added value product designed for composite manufacturers. We attracted the industry early with an initial Proof-of-concept, but we needed to optimize the industrialization of our product to facilitate market entry. With the boost of the Gebert Rüf Stiftung, we could secure our first product implementations with first pre-sales in the targeted field by 2020. This support accelerated our market entry and de-risked fundraising, which are the first critical steps to CompPair’s success in the disruption of the composites industry, making it more cost efficient and sustainable.
What is special about the project?
Up to now, the field of self-healing composites had been mostly restricted to laboratory-scale studies, with few uncompetitive attempts to scale-up. This lack of industrial implementation is found in their development roots, aiming for fully autonomous healing systems at room temperature, that reduce intrinsic composite properties. Our strategy, aiming at triggering healing by moderate heat, while preserving structural properties and conserving a good initial damage tolerance was successful and novel. Our technology is the first competitive one with extremely high commercial potential in terms of multiple repair ability and recycling, while preserving mechanical properties, cost and processing methods as in many industrial systems. By extending our product portfolio to other fibres and resins, we have the ability to disrupt the industry; bringing repair and recycling functionalities to composites while matching current requirements.
We have demonstrated healing properties on a lab scale and at a larger scale through demonstrators of real part applications (a typical aerospace part, a skateboard, a surfboard, and a boat part). The healing process is activated at moderate temperature with a blow dryer and lasts only one minute. Videos showing impact and successive healing can be accessed on our website
. With the boost of the Gebert Rüf Stiftung, we could reach an industrialized product (prepreg made of various fibres and architectures), which properties have been validated. We could then get traction from first clients with initial implementations and pre-sales into the sport and marine fields. Thanks to the InnoBooster program, we are currently initiating with several clients the product durability and repair ability assessment in service conditions. This will enable us to be fully settled for a broad market implementation.
N. Hostettler; A. Cohades; V. Michaud; Healable composites and their performance through mechanical and durability testing; JEC Magazine 128; Mai 2019
A. Cohades, R. Trigueira; Healable composites to improve circularity; JEC Magazine 136; September 2020
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 03.04.2021