Manufacturing Technology for Composite Materials

Owing to many advantages of composite materials, such as high stiffness and lightweight, they have gained huge attention in automobiles, aerospace, energy, and defense sector. However, performances of composite materials may severely be degraded by presence of defects such as void, moist content, and contaminants introduced during their manufacturing process. Therefore, designing proper manufacturing conditions is very important to fabricate high-performance composite products. To do this, we are modeling composite manufacturing processes such as VaRTM and filament winding using FEM technique and analytic methods. Establishing a multi-scale approach on modeling and optimizing the process enables us to accommodate each parameter affecting the performance of the composite product.

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Composite Structural Analysis and Design

The design of a composite structure involves structural concepts and the choice of appropriate materials. Polymer-based fibrous composite materials are characterized by high specific stiffness and strength, and low weight compared to metals. We are developing composite based machine components for various applications in the field of automobile, aerospace, shipbuilding, robotics, and machine tools through the use of computational design and qualification tests.

Energy Conversion and Storage Systems

The proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), also known as polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, are an eco-friendly energy conversion system (ECS) that uses only hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. The vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) is a very promising energy storage system (ESS) to effectively store large amounts of electricity. We have focused on improving the performance of ECS and ESS systems by developing important components such as bipolar plates and electrodes.

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Smart Materials

Functional composite materials have received attention owing to their special properties, such as piezoelectric, electro-rheological, dielectric, thermoelectric, and so on. Optimized material properties can be achieved by complementing more than two distinct materials. These functional composite materials have been used in various applications, such as wearable devices and smart sensors. Currently, we are developing novel CNT/polymer composite fiber sensors with high mechanical and electrical properties for health monitoring of composite structures. In addition, we investigate 3-dimensional thermoelectric devices for recycling waste heat and flexible piezoelectric composite film for mobile devices.