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Research

Manufacturing of Copper Oxide Enhanced Electrospun Nylon-6 Membrane Based Reusable Facial Masks/Filters for Protection Against COVID-19

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The use of facial masks has become omnipresent worldwide since the outbreak of severe respiratory diseases caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Consequently, the world is currently experiencing a shortage of face masks, and some countries have placed restrictions on the number of masks that any individual can purchase. While the N95 surgical grade mask offers the highest degree of safety currently available, due to its broader pore size (almost 300 nm) its filtration capacity for sub-300 nm particles is about 85%. Since the COVID-19 virus has a diameter of about 65-125 nm, more effective reusable masks are required. We are demonstrating the creation of a nanoporous flexible copper oxide enhanced electrospun Nylon-6 membrane on regular fabric filter layer with enhanced filtration performance and reusability in order to solve these problems. Because of good antimicrobial properties and economical production, copper oxide has been selected as an antibacterial agent compared to other metal nanoparticles used as antibacterial agents. On regular fabric which is used as filter layer in surgical mask or N-95, we have deposited a thin layer of electrospun Nylon-6 nanofibers coated with functionalized Copper Oxide nanoparticles by electrospraying technique. Prepared nanofibers composites have been characterized for future research, including morphological characterization, surface area and porosity estimation using BET, mechanical properties using Universal Testing Machine, elemental analysis using XPS, crystallinity evaluation by XRD, upright cup breathability examination, air permeability monitoring, thermal analysis by TGA, and disinfectant antimicrobial properties. Excellent morphological, mechanical, structural, surface, and antimicrobial properties were observed in Nylon-6 fibers coated with copper oxide nanoparticles (amount of CuO in the Nylon-6 fibers has been estimated to be 3-5 wt.%). 

Lighter and stronger composite structures via interlaminar incorporation of epoxy-CNT scaffolds

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Carbon fiber reinforced polymers are advanced composite materials used in a wide range of applications, from aerospace to automotive to sports equipment. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have small dimensions, high aspect ratio, and unique properties arising from their tube-like structures. Hence, they have a potency for the reinforcement in composites. However, many unsuccessful efforts have been made to spin CNT with neat epoxy. We have added solvents to make it spinnable and observed ultrafine nanofibers. The deposition of the filaments through electrospinning improves the alignment of Multi Walled CNTs toward the surface, provide a bonding between layers of pre-impregnated carbon fiber composite. It ensures 21% advancements in mechanical properties of the composites while mitigating the weight.

Nano Electromechanical Approach for Flexible Polymeric Proximity Sensor

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Wearable sensing platforms have been rapidly advanced over recent years, thanks to numerous achievements in a variety of sensor fabrication techniques. However, the development of a flexible proximity sensor that can perform in a large range of object mobility remains a challenge. Here, a polymer-based sensor that utilizes a nanostructure composite as the sensing element has been presented for forthcoming usage of the visually-impaired individuals. Our nanocomposites are capable of detecting presence of an external object in a wide range of distance. The architecture and manufacturing procedures of the very sensor are straightforward and show robustness to reproducibility and repeated cycling. Additionally, 3D printing of CNT exhibits more flexibility, customization and efficiency to define patterns to get better electrical/thermal conductivity, resistivity and sensitivity as desired. Our results introduce a new mainstream platform to realize an ultrasensitive perception of objects, proposing a promising prototype for applications in wearable proximity sensors for motion analysis and artificial electronic skin.​

The 3D printed device will improve Visually-impaired people’s functionality through activities of daily living rehabilitation and could be used as wearable proximity sensors for motion analysis. Electronic technologies like sensors are also a key component in smart devices. Nanofillers like carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can enhance the mechanical /electrical properties of polymers that are being used in the electronics industry. 3D printing of CNT exhibits more flexibility, customization, and efficiency to define patterns to get better electrical/thermal conductivity, resistivity, and sensitivity as desired.

ANALYSIS AND OPTIMIZATION OF A COMPOSITE MONOCOQUE FOR STRUCTURAL PERFORMANCE

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The present research intends to develop a structurally integral composite monocoque for SCCA Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) races. Number of studies have been performed to design composite monocoque’s for various student level racing contests. The objective of this paper is to develop a methodology to design a monocoque that passes the mandatory static load tests laid down by the International Automobile Federation (FIA)Formula 3. These Formula 3 tests are considered to be the baseline of the desired structural integrity of the composite monocoque. The results produced and the methods used should be of interest for the design and analysis of any kind of formula type composite monocoque. The three standard load tests performed on the monocoque are Survival Cell Side test, Fuel Tank test and Side Intrusion test. A sandwich layup of bi-directional woven carbon/epoxy prepreg and aluminium honeycomb is optimized for minimum weight while ensuring the monocoque satisfies these tests.

Experimental Analysis of Epoxy with 2D Nanomaterials to Enhance Mechanical and Electrical Properties of CFRP

Carbon fiber composites are a promising developing alternative for many metals used in industry due to their high strength to weight ratios along with other superior mechanical properties. Composites are currently being commercialized in many industries, including the aerospace, defense, and automotive industries. Traditional composites usually do not show great interlaminar shear properties as there is not much reinforcement through the thickness; therefore, polymer reinforced composites have become more appealing due to the increase of mechanical strength they exhibit compared to current composites. Mechanical and Electrical properties of those composites can be strengthened through the process of electrospinning of epoxy and 2D Nanomaterials popularly known as Mxenes between the layers, which allows for aligned layers to be deposited in thin sheets. After deposition, we are trying to conduct some tests to check its electro-mechanical properties and compare with conventional carbon fiber composites.

Tuning physical and mechanical properties of carbon fiber reinforced prepregs via electrospun MWCNTs/epoxy nano-scaffolds

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To improve the physical and mechanical properties of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) prepreg composites, electrospun multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs)/epoxy nanofibers were incorporated between the layers of conventional CFRP prepreg composites. MWCNTs/epoxy nanofibers were successfully fabricated by an optimized electrospinning method. The nanofibers were electrospun directly onto a prepreg layer to achieve improved adhesion and interface bonding for added strength. Hand layup followed by vacuum bagging forced close contact between the electrospun nano-scaffolds and conventional CFRP prepreg layers. Results revealed, that by incorporating the electrospun nano-scaffold, mechanical properties of the CFRP prepreg is considerably improved. Here, interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) and fatigue performance at 60% of static ultimate strength increased by 21% and 47%, respectively, after adding a 4wt.% MWCNTs/epoxy nano-scaffold. Moreover, barely visible impact damage (BVID) energy increased significantly, 45% at 4wt.% MWCNTs compared to the control composite prepreg. The highest thermal and electrical conductivities were obtained with a MWCNTs content of 8wt.%. In this study, a new methodology for material enhancement was developed to overcome the shortcoming of CFRP prepreg applications in critical components and to open the potential for new structural applications utilizing this unique enhanced prepreg material.

Multi-objective optimization using Artificial Neural Network and Genetic Algorithm for composite material parts considering crashworthiness requirements.

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Aim of the project is to minimize deceleration, displacement and weight of a crash structure. Artificial neural networks and Genetic Algorithm is used for optimizing these multiple objectives. Initially crash analysis of simple square tube made of composite material is considered. The square tube is impacted with a steel plate travelling with a certain velocity. Variables include ply thickness, ply orientation and number of plies. Deceleration, displacement and weight are observed for given set of variables. Also, energy absorbed in the impact is calculated. Sampling plan is obtained considering the input variables and output parameters. This sampling plan is used as input to Artificial Neural network fitting tool in Matlab. The further optimization process is carried out using Genetic Algorithm.

Mxenes Based Supercapacitor for Electric Driven Vehicles

Supercapacitor is being considered as an alternative of battery in electric driven vehicles as it exhibits some outstanding characteristics such as high power density for car braking, engine start & acceleration, operational efficiency in adverse weather conditions, non-toxic and non-explosive materials, cheaper than li-ion batteries because of carbon abundance. Thin film 2D Transition Metal Carbides and Nitrides (Mxenes) based supercapacitor with superior efficiency having lightweight can be integrated into the shell of the vehicle, such as the body panels, roof, floor, and doors by keeping the mechanical properties of the composites as same as before. Mxenes has the potential to replace graphene in supercapacitor due to its high volumetric capacitance, high electronic conductivity, high thermal conductivity. We are trying to build a prototype of a part of the car shell with Mxenes based Supercapacitor and check its electrical and mechanical properties to support the above-mentioned claims.

Manufacturing of an INDYCAR Monocoque Chassis with Composites.

Energy Absorption Optimization for Multiple Impact Angles of an IndyCar Crash Attenuator

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The Project involves the Manufacturing of an INDYCAR chassis with Composites. The project is divided in three stages starting from preparation of a Master with high compressible resistant foam, then preparation of Mold and then in the final stage the final Monocoque Chassis.

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This research aims on developing a reliable finite element framework to investigate the Specific Energy Absorption (SEA) of the rear crash attenuator of an open-wheel type Indycar vehicle. A meshed model representing the crash structure was designed and its failure behaviour was learnt on the basis of various non-linear finite element modelling techniques to simulate a crash as per regulations from the governing body of Indycar. All the numerical analysis was performed utilizing the LS-DYNA software with the Progressive Failure Model (PFM) and Continuum Damage Model (CDM) of MAT058_LAMINATED_COMPOSITE_FABRIC card.

Aero-Structure Load Transfer Methods and Multifidelity Weight Optimization of a Wing

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Within the aerospace industry, there is an increasing demand for rapid generation of designs, an early adaption of higher fidelity models and automation in structural analysis of the internal support structures without losing much on accuracy. Generally, for preliminary analysis, indirect load transfer method is used and for detailed analysis, direct load transfer method is used. For the indirect load transfer method, load is discretized using Shear-MomentTorque (SMT) curve and applied to ribs or frames of the plane. For the direct load transfer method, the load is distributed using one-way Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) and applied to the skin of the plane. In this research, structural analysis on a wing is performed using both methods and the nodal displacement is compared.

Rapid Design Generation and Multifidelity Analysis of Aircraft Structures

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There is a huge demand for automation in geometry creation within the aerospace industry. These demands are evident in multidisciplinary optimization. Currently, every model is to build independently of each other for each discipline. Thus, any changes in design parameters require updates on all the models which are inefficient, time-consuming and prone to deficiencies. A parametric software called ‘Engineering Sketch Pad’ (ESP) is used to solve this issue.