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Multifunctional composites and structures with integrated mechanical and electromagnetic properties


Composite materials are used for their excellent structural performance. Load-bearing properties are traditionally the only aspects for which a composite structure is designed. Recent technological advances have made it possible to reach beyond this limited view. Inspired by biological systems, we seek to develop engineering materials that exhibit multiple functionalities in addition to providing structural integrity. Composites are a natural host for embedding elements that can enhance their non-structural response. The present work is focused on embedding periodic arrays of scattering elements within composites to modify and tune their overall electromagnetic properties. A number of techniques for numerical and analytical modeling of the periodic media are discussed. Based on these methods we have designed and fabricated composites with tuned electromagnetic properties. Examples include fiber- reinforced polymer composites with embedded arrays of straight wires or coils. In both cases, the overall dielectric constant of the medium is reduced and can even be rendered negative within microwave frequencies. The coil medium can exhibit chiral response. Solutions for eliminating this behavior as well as a method for calculation of the bianisotropic material parameters are presented. One can achieve similar response at higher frequencies by reducing the length scale. For example, we show that a polymer film with embedded nano-strips of gold can demonstrate negative dielectric constant in infrared regime. An example of a structural composite is presented for which the magnetic permeability is altered and is turned negative within a microwave band. Finally, a general method for homogenization of the electromagnetic properties of periodic media based on the microstructure is developed. Two independent chapters complete this dissertation. In Chapter 8 the response of a soft hypo- elastic material in a pressure - shear experiment is studied. A nonlinear pressure- and temperature-dependent viscoelastic material model for polyurea, an elastomeric block copolymer, is presented in Chapter 9. It has been experimentally observed that a metal - elastomer bilayer may show improved resistance to failure under impulsive loadings

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