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Multifunctional Cement Composites With Load-Bearing And Self-Sensing Properties

As improvements in technology allow for construction of bigger, more uniquely designed skyscrapers, bridges, and motorways that can carry greater loads and are seismically sound, current cement composites are being pushed to their performance limits. Now more than ever, assessing damage to cement composite structures is of integral importance. However, traditional methods can be destructive, subjective, and may not detect previously existing damage, which can be invisible to the naked eye or hidden beneath structural surfaces. Addition of conductive additives, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to cementitious composites attributes both load-bearing and damage self-sensing properties to the composites. However, current formulations and methods for producing these multifunctional cement composites require specialized equipment, are labor, time, and capital intensive, and are not scalable.

3D Fabrication of Piezoelectric Polymer Composite Materials

Piezoelectric materials are key components in a range of devices including acoustic imaging, energy harvesting, and actuators and typically rely on brittle ceramic monoliths to perform their functions. To control the size and or shape of the piezoelectrics, it is common to use mechanical dicing or saws. However, this limits not only the size of the piezoelectric element but also the dimensionality. It is nearly impossible with current cutting techniques to shape brittle ceramics into higher order 3D structures, which could have a huge impact on compact sensor designs, tunable acoustic arrays, efficient energy scavengers, and diagnostic devices. There is an unmet need for simple approaches to fabricating 3D structures in piezoelectric polymers or multilayered architectures which would open up infinite possibilities in the design of more complicated device geometries.

Accurate Patterning of Hydrophobic Materials: Assembly of Organic and Inorganic Components on a Substrate

Presented here is the novel mechanical application of adhesive hydrophobic materials to substrates, the patterning of these materials, and the controlled dip-coating of the resulting patterned substrates to allow the control of the spatial and volumetric attributes of liquid droplets. By controlling the speed with which the substrates are dip-coated, and the viscosity of the polymer bath, fine control over the volumes of liquid that are deposited at particular locations on the substrate is obtained. These techniques may be utilized in a variety of applications including microlens arrays, waveguides, bonding, and fluidic handling.

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