skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on December 4, 2024

Title: Conductive and Ferromagnetic Syntactic Foam with Shape Memory and Self‐Healing/Recycling Capabilities

Herein, a new lightweight syntactic foam is reported with strong mechanical properties, unique multifunctionalities, and recyclability. Multifunctionality of materials and structures has gained ever‐increasing interest as an excellent approach to designing minimalistic systems. Inspired by nature, these materials can perform multiple functions besides bearing a load. Due to their shape‐changing and damage‐healing property, shape memory vitrimers (SMVs) are a great example of multifunctional materials readily exploited for many applications. Using nickel and silver‐plated hollow glass microbubbles (HGMs), an SMV‐based syntactic foam is introduced here that supplements the multifunctionality of SMVs with electrical conductivity and ferromagnetism, which enables a series of additional potentials such as strain sensing, damage monitoring, Joule heating, and electromagnetic interference shielding. Despite its low density and outstanding mechanical properties, this foam exhibits shape memory behavior, which can be triggered by an electrical current, and damage healing capability due to its reversible dynamic covalent bonds. Especially its recyclability makes recycling the expensive silver‐coated and nickel‐coated HGMs feasible, making this foam cost‐effective and environmentally sustainable. With its many features and economical manufacturability, this syntactic foam has a potential to be utilized in many applications, ranging from aerospace structures to biomedical devices to household items.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Functional Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Shape morphing materials have been extensively studied to control the formation of sophisticated three-dimensional (3D) structures and devices for a broad range of applications. Various methods, including the buckling of pre-strained bilayer composites, stimuli-responsive shape-shifting of shape memory polymers, and hydrogels, have been previously employed to transform 2D sheets to 3D structures and devices. However, the residual stress locked in these shape-shifting structures will drive them to gradually revert to their original layouts upon the removal of external stimuli or constrains. Here, we report a multistimuli-responsive vitrimer (m-vitrimer) bearing thermal- and photo-reversible disulfide bonds as shape programmable and healable materials for functional 3D devices. The mechanical properties and thermomechanical properties of vitrimer were tuned by altering the disulfide content and catalyst loading. Heat and light exposure induces effective stress relaxation and network rearrangement, enabling material shape programming and healing. We demonstrate that printed flexible smart electronics are fabricated using the m-vitrimer as a matrix and printed conductive silver nanoparticles as conductive wire. The printed electronics possess good electro-mechanical properties, strong interfacial bonding, and thermal- and photo-responsive shape programming. Moreover, the m-vitrimer can be healed upon damage by heat and light, which partially restores silver conductivity and protect the electronics from further damage. The converging of multi-stimuli-responsive polymers and printed electronics for functional 3D devices have the potential of finding broad applications in smart and morphing electronics, biomedical devices, and 4D printing.

    more » « less
    more » « less
  3. Abstract In this paper, an open-cell metallic foam was filled in by a tough shape memory polymer (SMP), to form a hybrid metal/polymer composite with multifunctionalities and enhanced mechanical properties. This work aims to study the positive composite actions between the metallic skeleton and the SMP filler. Mechanical, thermal, and conductive properties of the resulting hybrid composite were evaluated and compared to the individual components. Uniaxial compression tests and shape memory effect tests were conducted. Results demonstrated an improvement in the compressive strength and toughness. The hybrid composite also exhibited excellent shape recovery and high recovery stress of 1.76 MPa. Infrared thermography has been used to verify the free shape recovery by Joule heating. Sandwich structures with the hybrid composite as the core were studied through low velocity impact test and three-point bending test. The sandwich structures with the composite foam core showed significant performance improvement in both tests. Electrical resistivity study during the three-point bending test validates the possible application of this multifunctional polymer-aluminum open cell foam composite as strain sensor. This type of hybrid composites can be beneficial in many industrial sectors that search for an ideal combination of high strength, high toughness, low weight, damage sensing, and excellent energy absorption capabilities. 
    more » « less
  4. Benefits of employing graphene nanopletlates (GNPLs) in composite structures include mechanical as well as multifunctional properties. Understanding the impedance behavior of GNPLs reinforced syntactic foams may open new applications for syntactic foam composites. In this work, GNPLs reinforced syntactic foams were fabricated and tested for DC and AC electrical properties. Four sets of syntactic foam samples containing 0, 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5 vol% of GNPLs were fabricated and tested. Significant increase in conductivity of syntactic foams due to the addition of GNPLs was noted. AC impedance measurements indicated that the GNPLs syntactic foams become frequency dependent as the volume fraction of GNPLs increases. With addition of GNPLs, the characteristic of the syntactic foams are also observed to transition from dominant capacitive to dominant resistive behavior. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    High-performance lightweight architectures, such as metallic microlattices with excellent mechanical properties have been 3D printed, but they do not possess shape memory effect (SME), limiting their usages for advanced engineering structures, such as serving as a core in multifunctional lightweight sandwich structures. 3D printable self-healing shape memory polymer (SMP) microlattices could be a solution. However, existing 3D printable thermoset SMPs are limited to either low strength, poor stress memory, or non-recyclability. To address this issue, a new thermoset polymer, integrated with high strength, high recovery stress, perfect shape recovery, good recyclability, and 3D printability using direct light printing, has been developed in this study. Lightweight microlattices with various unit cells and length scales were printed and tested. The results show that the cubic microlattice has mechanical strength comparable to or even greater than that of metallic microlattices, good SME, decent recovery stress, and recyclability, making it the first multifunctional lightweight architecture (MLA) for potential multifunctional lightweight load carrying structural applications.

    more » « less