Porous media have received increased attention over the past decade because of their use in existing and emerging technologies, which directly impact the advancement of known grand challenges in areas such as bioengineering, electronics, energy, and water filtration, in addition to others as illustrated in Fig. 1. Existing porous media modeling and characterization approaches do not provide an interactive means for a) controlling the shape, b) developing fine geometric details, and c) easily modifying the microstructure, which are important aspects of designing new materials. Furthermore, there is a fundamental disconnect between the design of porous media and their manufacture, thus, costly reverse engineering approaches are utilized for material characterization.
In this research, we propose to develop a new simulation based approach to design complex fibrous porous media, such as fiber based composites, as illustrated in Fig. 2, with tailored properties to enable their direct manufacture. After designing the composite structures, their accuracy will be determined by conducting detailed analyses on various engineering properties, e.g., mechanical and transport.
For the initial phase of the project, the FLAMEL student will work on the first two of the following tasks, which will provide a framework for the manufacturability study of the composite materials in the following years.
- Geometric modeling of fiber based composites—Computational tools will be developed in Matlab and utilized to generate the complex structures.
- Validation for a specific property of the modeled structure—Simulations will be performed and physical experiments will be conducted.
- Investigate virtual and physical manufacture of the composite structure—Simulations and experiments for manufacturing the composite material (by adding a fluid layer to the surface) will be conducted.
The proposed research will benefit society by offering the manufacturing industry and engineering practitioners an efficient approach to analyze new materials in a virtual environment. The results will be important elements of computational infrastructure that enables rational design of composite materials, which can be widely applied in various industries.