The title of my research is “Integrating Form, Function and Fabrication within high value-added complex structures”. The broad nature of this topic provided me with scope to consider the value of multi-functionality within composite structures.
My area of focus is on adapting structures, namely their global stiffness, to reduce the performance penalty of operating in varying loading environments. By varying the internal connectivity of discrete elements within larger structures, one can tailor the macroscopic response of said structure. I am thus attempting to integrate technologies previously applied to wall climbing robotics to internal structural applications. By increasing the achievable level of holding pressure, it is my intention to implement electroadhesion for this purpose. Electroadhesion is the method of imparting a large potential difference across surface mounted electrodes to generate an electrostatic force of attraction to hold the electrodes to a substrate. The use of composite materials can enable the integration of functional elements, such as electroadhesive devices, within the primary structure itself during the component manufacture phase. There is thus potential to simplify the assembly process, and fully integrate the form, function and fabrication.
Prior to this I obtained an M.Eng Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Bristol. The principal sponsor for my research is the James Dyson Foundation.
Supervisors: Professor Ian Bond and Professor Kevin Potter