Composite Materials with Embedded Sensing full report
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31-03-2010, 10:45 PM

This report focuses on two examples of Micro-Nano Technology (MNT) in an attempt to plot the way forward for commercializing these MNT devices. The first example is one that has recently gone from a research idea and prototype (2000) to commercialization (2003) and the second is a recently developed (2004) composite suggested here for commercialization. The first example is a Marco Fibre Composite„¢ (MFC) actuator and sensor invented by NASA Langley Research Center in a quest to develop a high force actuation system for use in helicopter blade control applications. The MFC was successfully commercialized and is now readily available from a sensor/actuator company ( However commercializing applications that incorporate the MFC system could be further developed and are yet to be commercialized. The second material considered here, which is not yet on the market, is the recently invented Metal RubberTM developed by NanoSonic Corporation. Metal Rubber serves as a flexible sensor, or conductive polymer. Suggestions for the steps to take to commercialize Metal Rubber are presented. Each of these two composite materials is described in detail in terms of their function. This is followed by descriptions of the use of these devices in several applications consisting of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), Vibration Suppression (VS) and Power Harvesting (PH). Applications are key to developing a successful product and business plan based on new sensing and actuating concepts. These potential applications also provide motivation for new uses and new materials. MFC technology has been integrated in a number of laboratory prototypes, but these applications are yet to be commercialized. The Metal Rubber concept needs to first go through the characterization and prototype development stages before applications towards SHM, VS and PH.

Presented By:
Daniel J. Inman and Eric J. Ruggiero
Center for Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Department of Mechanical Engineering

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