Air Force Research Laboratory
Denewsjuly6 4 Promo 5eff8362df5e7

AFRL, UW Study Shape-Shifting Materials

July 3, 2020
Composite materials that change shape when subjected to a magnetic field offer promise for use as tunable filters and vibration-reducing components in military vehicles.

Materials that can change shape under magnetic fields might sound like something out of a science fiction story, but the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is exploring the potential use of such materials in tunable components that might help with vibration absorption and suppression in vehicles. Working with academic colleagues at the University of Wisconsin (UW), the AFRL is studying a family of soft magneto-active composites that can reversibly change form, enabling them to switch between multiple shapes. The elastomer composites exhibit an increase in stiffness and change in shape in response to an applied magnetic field so that they can be actively tuned. By tuning the materials with magnetic fields, they may be suitable for such applications as filters and vibration dampers that can be adjusted with noncontact tuning. In the figure above, Dr. Vincent Chen, an AFRL scientist, is applying a magnetic field to change the shapes of various magneto-active composite materials.

Details on these novel magneto-active materials were recently published in the physics journal, Physical Review Letters (April 14, 2020 issue). The research examines the interactions between different mechanical instabilities and magnetic fields and how they can be applied as practical solutions for vehicles, such as for vibration suppression and dampening.

Contributors to the research include Dr. Stephen Rudykh from the University of Wisconsin, who noted that the AFRL and the University plan to build on the basic ideas of the study to develop reconfigurable forms for new function. He said: “The design space for architected elastomers is very rich, with additional mechanisms for magneto-mechanical interactions to be discovered and harnessed for applications.” Co-author D. Abigail Juhl from the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate of AFRL added: “We are excited about the potential for magnetic tuning to improve vibration sensing and control in aircraft and other vehicle environments.”

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

Sponsored Recommendations

Ultra-Low Phase Noise MMIC Amplifier, 6 to 18 GHz

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ LVA-6183PN+ is a wideband, ultra-low phase noise MMIC amplifier perfect for use with low noise signal sources and in sensitive transceiver chains. This model operates...

Turnkey 1 kW Energy Source & HPA

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ RFS-2G42G51K0+ is a versatile, new generation amplifier with an integrated signal source, usable in a wide range of industrial, scientific, and medical applications...

SMT Passives to 250W

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ surface-mount stripline couplers and 90° hybrids cover an operational frequency range of DC to 14.5 GHz. Coupler models feature greater than 2 decades of bandwidth...

Transformers in High-Power SiC FET Applications

June 28, 2024
Discover SiC FETs and the Role of Transformers in High-Voltage Applications