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Morphing Locally and Globally Structures with Multiscale Intelligence by Mimicking Nature (MORPHOSIS)
Start date: Jan 1, 2013, End date: Dec 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The objective of the proposed research is to engineer novel multifunctional morphing materials drawing inspiration from biological systems that are known to possess distributed sensing capabilities which in turn guide their local and global morphing. This will be achieved through the development of novel multi-scale technologies (nano- to macro) and materials that, once integrated, will allow distributed local/global sensing and morphing capabilities that can be exploited for structural as well as for eminently flexible applications. The distributed local/global morphing and sensing will be delivered by fabricating at the microscale a non-invasive, light-weight, flexible and highly expandable active network with enhanced actuation capabilities and a neurological sensor network. The networks are then expanded to the macro-scale prior being integrated in a flexible material or in an innovative multi-stable shape memory carbon-fiber composite. The sensor network has to monitor environmental and loading conditions. These data are then used to control the deformation of the active network which can deliver local (roughness changes as in dolphins skin for instance for drag reduction) or global morphing (e.g. for deformable textiles as in insect wings) in flexible materials. The multi-stable carbon-fiber composite can be used in conjunction with these two functions so as to achieve advanced morphing in structural applications (e.g., birds wings vs. aircrafts wings). The composite, with a shape memory resin as hosting matrix, due to its rigidity and sensitivity to temperature variations, can snap from one configuration to the other. The speed of the purposefully-introduced snapping-through process will be tuned with the help of the integrated active network. This research has the potential to pave the way toward the development of new multidisciplinary research fields and could revolutionarize the design and production of future structures in a variety of fields."
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