BIOINSPIRED DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS WITH ENHANCED MECHANICAL PERFORMANCE AND SELF-HEALING PROPERTIES
The design and fabrication of easy‑to‑assemble structural materials with enhanced mechanical performance and the capability to self‑repair autonomously will pave the way toward future sustainable constructions. The development of hybrid structures—material composites comprising two or more materials with synergistic and complementary properties—will enlarge the range of mechanical properties accessible by conventional homogeneous materials. Unfortunately, the cohesion bonds among the components of hybrid structures often impede the removal and re-addition of components, limiting the simple reconfiguration of hybrid structures into different designs. Hook‑and‑loop fasteners, on the other hand, provides a strong and reversible connection based on mechanical interlocking that allows the attachment and detachment of two surfaces expanding their use in engineering applications.
The effective mechanical response of the hook‑and‑loop fasteners strongly depends on the ability of the hooks to engage with the loops at the sub‑millimeter level. New computational models will help in the design and manufacturing of hook‑and‑loop fastening products by providing a quick turnaround time with minimal prototyping and testing. The development of such computational models will enable the analysis of these fasteners at both micro‑ and macro‑scales. The two-scale model strategy have demonstrated to predict the mechanical behavior of hook‑and‑loop fastener and, as a design predictive tool, capture the main deformation and dissipative mechanisms at the relevant length scales.
This Ph.D. dissertation focuses on the bioinspired design and fabrication of structural materials with enhanced mechanical performance and the capability to self‑repair autonomously. The resulting scalable and modular structural materials are easy‑to‑assemble and easy‑to‑disassemble at room temperature, serving as an attractive strategy for the development of resilient, deployable, convertible, and temporary constructions capable to meet the rapidly increasing modern demands.