Laminated Elastomer Composites with Anisotropic Shape Memory
This awards provides funding for the development of a robust manufacturing approach for a novel group of active polymers, anisotropic shape memory elastomeric composites (ASMEC) and laminates, by the guidance of advanced theoretical and computational modeling. This approach involves manufacturing of ASMEC and laminates by embedding a crystallizable thermoplastic fiber network into an elastomeric matrix with a preferred orientation. This project establishes a relationship between the active behavior of ASMEC and its microscopic structural parameters, such as fiber orientation, fiber phase behavior, and volume fraction. The manufacturing approach for ASMEC will be highly scalable so that it can be readily commercialized for large scale production at a low cost. The proposed theoretical development will also advance current understanding on how polymer crystallization can be used as a ‘switching phase’ for active behavior and the current knowledge on mechanics of composite materials. If successful, the results from this work will lead to the establishment of a new paradigm for the construction of a wide range of active polymers, along with new insights into the mechanics of composite materials.