Material design methodology for structural and microwave multifunctional composite laminate systems

McCauley, Raymond
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University of Delaware
Composite multifunctional materials are one way of hybridizing two material functions into one. One such application is in composite structures with electromagnetic (EM) functionality. Independently, mechanical and EM design methodologies exist, but there are limited design methodologies for making systems that combine both functionalities. This research focuses on a design methodology for material selection involving a laminate-composite system with both structural and electromagnetic functionalities. One such application is for antenna radomes and composite deckhouses of naval structures that protect microwave equipment from external loads as well as provide electromagnetic functionality. These are typically sandwich structures which are optimized for high stiffness and low weight. This work shows, through systematic testing and characterization of failure, that the inclusion of an electromagnetically tuned layer in this system does not adversely affect the mechanical properties. Design and fabrication can be done with appropriate consideration of both regimes to produce a multifunctional material that is structurally sound and electromagnetically functional.