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Seidel Research Group


The MultiScale Damage Evolution in Multifunctional Materials or Structures research group is focused on developing analytic and computational multiscale modeling tools based on micromechanics philosophies to capture damage evolution in composites, or more specifically, in composites which exhibit coupled mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetic response due to active constituent phases, interactions between phases, or due to phase transitions. Of particular interest are addressing challenges associated with passing information between length scales spanning the nano, micro, meso and macroscales as well as the associated time scales of physical phenomena of interest which can range from femtoseconds and microseconds to years. Essential components of the multiscale model development approach are the verification and validation efforts, the latter providing impetus for our interest in multiscale characterization efforts which can be used to help generate statistically meaningful representative volume elements and to provide measurable checks for predictions at each scale.
Current Research Interests
Multiscale Modeling of Multifunctional Nanocomposites
The unique mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of carbon nanotubes have led to significant interest in applying carbon nanotubes towards the design of multifunctional nanocomposites. These composites experimentally display unique macroscale properties often attributed to nanoscale effects, particularly, the effects at the interface of the nanotubes with the surrounding medium. In order to develop design tools for engineering materials with specially tailored performance through the optimal use of nanoparticles, it is necessary to establish validated multiscale models for assessing structure-property relationships in nanocomposites. The focus of the present research primarily concerns the theoretical development and computational implementation of multiscale models based on effective homogenization techniques for connecting atomistic simulations to continuum scale models in the determination of the coupled mechanical, thermal and electrical behavior of polymer-based nanocomposites.
Modeling of Progressive Damage in Nanocomposites
In addition to the potential applications of carbon nanotube-polymer nanocomposites for providing increased matrix stiffness, thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity in structural carbon fiber composites, nanocomposites have the potential to provide vehicle critical information through structural health monitoring. This ability to sense the onset of damage stems both from the inherent electro-mechanical coupling of nanotubes and from changes in the electrical properties of nanocomposites brought about by progressive failure associated with the formation of microcracks. The present research is focused on the latter through the development of multiscale damage evolution models for capturing the progressive failure of nanocomposites under mechanical loading, and concurrently predicting the associated perturbations in the non-mechanical properties necessary to sense damage using a multiscale homogenization framework.
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