Principal investigator: Yaghoob Farnam

University: Drexel University

Industry partners: TAKTL LLC

Drexel University and TAKTL are jointly proposing to study manufacturing a novel infrastructure material, Architected Fiber-Reinforced Cementitious Composite (AFRC), by advanced manufacturing (AM) of cementitious matrix and polymeric fiber reinforcement with controlled bio-inspired architecture.

Most materials in Nature possess complex composites with matrixes and fibrous reinforcements controlled by architected patterns. The controlled architected patterns help the materials to enhance the mechanical properties, considering the weak constituents from which they are assembled. Same concept will be utilized in this project to create AFRC where we (1) investigate multi-length scale manufacturing processes of AFRC through AM of cementitious matrix and fiber reinforcement with controlled bio-inspired architected patterns, (2) study underlying dimensional and mechanical characteristics of AFRC, and (3) optimize and engineer AFRC for feasible manufacturing of AFRC in industry.

A multiscale experimental and numerical approach will be used where we integrate recent advancement in AM of cementitious/polymeric materials with bio-inspired architected patterns to create AFRC. We will first study the effect of alternative AM processes on the creation of AFRC, and then we will use a bottom-up approach to engineer architected patterns in AFRC using patterns with 2D and 3D complexities available in Nature. 3D x-ray micro-computed tomography will be used to evaluate dimensional engineering behavior of AFRC while compressive, tensile and flexural tests equipped with passive acoustic emission with waveform analysis will be used to evaluate the mechanical and fracture engineering properties of AFRC.

Additionally, with the help of our industrial partner with extensive experience in AM of architectural ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) in PA, we will study industrialization feasibility of AFRC manufacturing. This project will establish an academic-Industry partnership based in PA to obtain necessary scientific and industrial knowledge to foster opportunities for both Drexel and TAKTL to be at the forefront of national and international manufacturing of infrastructure materials.