Our research is focused on developing next-generation, structural composites that can sense, respond and adapt to their environment. Motivated by natural phenomenon, we create materials that achieve biomimetic, regulating functions such as thermal management and self-healing.
One way we mimic load-bearing biomaterials is by creating microvascular networks, akin to osteonic canals in bone, through a developed process known as Vaporization of Sacrificial Components (VaSC).
These novel fiber-composites containing 3D microvasculature achieve multifunctional performance (e.g. thermal regulation, electromagnetic modulation) via substitution of circulated fluids within the vascular networks. By employing the latest in materials fabrication techniques, e.g. 3D weaving/printing, we can produce increasingly complex fiber-composite architectures.
Our latest research involves the integration of microelectronic sensors into advanced composite systems for coupling structural health monitoring (i.e. self-sensing) with self-regulating functions. This vision for the future of fiber-composites remains focused on bioinspired enhancements to imbue these synthetic materials with evolutionary advantages in an engineered platform.