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Student Examines Material
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Researchers:
Dr. Terry Creasy

Background:
Nastic materials incorporate repeated, functionally shaped cellular elements that provide enhanced structural performance by adjusting the nastic cell’s internal pressure, providing additional functions, such as high damping with low mass increase, thermal management by pumping liquids within the material, and shape and stiffness changes, (Fig. 6)77-79. The materials can be active, which requires energy input by the system, or passive, which employs structural vibrations and varying loads to drive fluids and change pressures in the nastic cells. The present work focuses on development of a novel hybrid system that uses passive high damping combined with active shape changing ability. We hypothesize that we can obtain an adaptive damping material by combining microfluidic elements with positive and negative stiffness materials that also provide shape morphing.

Research Plan:
The REU students will work as part of the team to design, develop and test candidate hybrid systems by combining analytical work with fabrication and experimental testing. The students will participate at all levels, from 1) designing the composite materials with Solidworks to 2) fabricating the active elements via 3D printing from large-scale (64 mm) proof-of-concept models to fine-scale (100 – 500 µm) nastic elements, to 3) fabricating and testing the composite panels that contain the nastic cells, and, finally, 4) to analyzing the results, comparing measured performance with the initial design. Using software, the student will construct 3D models and test their performance using finite element analysis. Through iterative analysis and redesign, the student will learn to associate the effects of material properties and shapes on performance predicted by a robust, quickly learned program that provides the mental framework that will prepare the student to use other programs that might be encountered during her career. From this research experience, the REU student will learn to design, fabricate, and test, components and assemblies that produce multifunctional materials responses, and will learn to connect analysis with the actual performance of physicalsystems.