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Open AccessArticle

Electro-active Variable-Stiffness Corrugated Structure Based on Shape-Memory Polymer Composite

1
School of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology at Weihai, Weihai 264209, China
2
School of Astronautics, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China
3
Science and Technology on Advanced Composites in Special Environments Key Laboratory, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 387; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020387
Received: 24 December 2019 / Revised: 2 February 2020 / Accepted: 3 February 2020 / Published: 8 February 2020
Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) can adjust their stiffness, lock a temporary shape, and recover the permanent shape upon an appropriate stimulus. They are applied in the field of morphing skins. This work presents a variable-stiffness corrugated sheet based on a carbon fiber felt (CFF)-reinforced epoxy-based SMP composite that shows variable stiffness and extreme mechanical anisotropy for potential morphing skin applications. The corrugated sheet exhibits a variable stiffness with a change in temperature, which can help the skin adjust its stiffness according to different service environments. The corrugated sheet can be electrically heated rapidly and homogeneously due to its high electrical conductivity and enhanced heat transfer efficiency. Its Joule-heating effect acts as an effective active stimulation of the variable stiffness and shape-memory effect. The CFF-reinforced epoxy-based SMP composite was manufactured into a corrugated shape to obtain extreme mechanical anisotropy. The corrugated sheet shows a low in-plane stiffness to minimize the actuation energy, while it also possesses high out-of-plane stiffness to transfer the aerodynamic pressure load. Its mechanical properties, electrical heating performance, and shape-memory effect were investigated using experiments. The results show that the proposed SMP composite exhibits extreme mechanical anisotropy, considerable deformation ability, and variable stiffness induced by Joule heating without an external heater. View Full-Text
Keywords: shape-memory polymer; shape-memory polymer composite; corrugated structure; morphing skin; SMP shape-memory polymer; shape-memory polymer composite; corrugated structure; morphing skin; SMP
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gong, X.; Xie, F.; Liu, L.; Liu, Y.; Leng, J. Electro-active Variable-Stiffness Corrugated Structure Based on Shape-Memory Polymer Composite. Polymers 2020, 12, 387.

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