Summer Undergraduate Research Mentored Experience

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Dr. Yirong Lin

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Woven fabric composites with embedded temperature sensing and energy harvesting

Preferred major field of study or minimum required skills

Any major in Science or Engineering.
Materials synthesis or characterization skills are a plus.

Scholarly significance/intellectual merit

Dr. Lin’s research program is focused on the design, fabrication, and characterization of multifunctional materials for applications such as sensing, energy storage, and multifunctional structures that are environmentally friendly.

In the last two decades, the use of composite materials in structural applications ranging from aircraft and space structures to automotive and biomedical as well as ballistic armor applications has been growing interest. These polymer based composites are being used due to their higher stiffness and strength per unit weight in comparison with aluminum and titanium alloys.

Additionally, the environmental energy harvesting to power low-energy consumption systems is becoming a growing topic for the large deployment of wireless sensor networks and increase of integration and functional density of electronics. The inclusion of pyroelectrics in woven fabric composites would allow low-energy harvesting in different applications such as the construction, aircraft, and automobile industry. This energy would allow the development of more intelligent systems

Research question(s)

This project will address the following questions:

  1. What is the proper fabrication method to embed pyroelectric ceramics in cabon fiber composites?
  2. What is the optimal location of the pyroelectric ceramic in carbon fiber composites?
  3. How to improve the energy harvesting efficiency of the hybrid camposites?
  4. How to achieve electrical properties of the composites without compromising mechanical stability?

Methods/techniques/instruments to be learned/utilized

The students will be familiar in each stage of the research process, fabrication of woven fabric composites, composites fabrication using vacuum bagging technique, synthesis of inorganic nanowires on carbon substrates, materials characterization using scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction measurement (XRD), data acquisition and analysis using NI DAQ board, processing of experimental