Via MaterialsViews.com, Jeffrey Moore and Scott White, professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talk us through their newest publication, “Three-Dimensional Microvascular Fiber-Reinforced Composites“.
Moore and White discuss their method for fabricating microvascular networks in fiber-reinforced composites Their method relies on sacrificial fibers woven into fiber preforms that, when removed, create 3D microvascular networks inside the composite material. By circulation of liquids in the resulting channels, a huge variety of new functionalities can be engineered (imagine, for example, coolants, medical fluids, ferroelectric materials, self-healing compounds). They say that the simplicity, robustness, scalability and reliance on readily available components make this method compatible with composite manufacturing methods. White uses the analogy of a stem cell in biology, noting the composite is “pluripotent” and says, “It takes on the functionality of whatever fluids we introduce to it.”