This grant provides financial funding to design, fabricate and model the behavior of structurally stable and strong shape memory composites that could recover large deformations with temperature and/or magnetic field. Novel shape memory composites will be composed of (conventional and magnetic) shape memory alloys and shape memory polymers. A deeper understanding of temperature, stress and magnetic field-dependent properties and reversible actuation mechanisms of shape memory composites will be attained by systematic investigations of the effects of pre-straining, mixture ratio, surface finish, volume ratio, size and shape of alloys on the strength, ductility, recovery stress and strain, interfacial strength, damping and stiffness properties of shape memory composites. Moreover, a micromechanics-based analytical model will be founded to explain and predict the behavior of shape memory composites and then calibrated through the achieved experimental findings.
If successful, novel composites that could demonstrate large reversible actuation with tunable functional properties such as stiffness and damping as functions of temperature and magnetic field will be fabricated. Fabricated composites can be employed as high endurance, lightweight, higher strength, low cost and functionally tunable composites to result in more efficient systems and mechanisms in actuator applications. They can utilize their i) self-sensing ability to sense the changes in environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity) and adapt their behavior accordingly; ii) high strength with reversible actuation capability to be used as stents and drug delivery systems; iii) temperature and magnetic field dependent damping properties for vibration isolation, iv) force generation capability for self-healing in structures. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research, this project will contribute significantly to the scientific education of graduate/undergraduate university students, K-12 students, high school teachers and the public at large in the emerging field of intelligent materials.