Composite material achieves paradoxical properties; realizes high stiffness and damping

In a paper published in Scientific Reports by Nature, scientists from Surrey joined forces with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of California to develop a material that has high stiffness and damping. The team achieved this near impossible combination in a material by using 3D woven technical textile composite sheets, with selected unbonded fibers – allowing the inside of the material to move and absorb vibrations, while the surrounding material remains rigid. Researchers believe their new material could usher in a new wave of trains, cars, and aircrafts, allowing customers to experience little to no vibration during their travels.

Dr, Stefan Szyniszewski, lead author of the study and Assistant Professor of Materials and Structures at the University of Surrey, said: “The idea of a composite the resolves the paradox of stiffness and damping was thought to be impossible – yet here we are. This is an exciting development that could send shock waves through the car, train and aerospace manufacturing industries. This is a material that could make the vehicles of the near future more comfortable than ever before.”

In the diagram below, (a) shows a 3D woven (3DW) lattice material composed of Z- (green), warp (red) and fill (blue) wires; in (b) the yellow color indicates the brazing locations (at the top and bottom)¥; in (c) the cross-section of a 3D woven lattice with a stiff skeleton (the brazed portion on the top and bottom) and free lattice members in the core of the structure is indicated;  (d) shows an SEM image of the brazed top face, which confirmed metallurgical bonding of the metallic lattices.

 

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