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Microtruss cellular materials are assemblies of struts with characteristic features in the μm to mm scale, arranged in a periodic, three-dimensional architecture. Compared to conventional cellular architectures (e.g. stochastic foams and honeycombs), they can possess improved structural efficiency, because externally applied loads are resolved axially along the constituent struts. We have recently fabricated composite microtruss materials by electrodepositing reinforcing nanocrystalline sleeves on tubular polymeric scaffolds. These materials can offer enhanced structural performance by exploiting advantageous properties along three length scales: the inherent strength of the electrodeposited material (grain size reduction to the nm scale), its location away from the bending axis of the struts (cross-sectional efficiency in the μm scale), and the spatial arrangement of the struts (architectural efficiency in the mm scale). This study uses finite element analysis and experimental methods to characterize the mechanical properties of these composite materials.
Nanocrystalline electrodeposition can be used to reinforce conventional metallic micro-truss materials and conventional metal foams, creating new types of metal/metal cellular hybrids in which the mechanical performance is controlled by an interconnected network of nanocrystalline tubes. This approach takes advantage of the large strength increase that can be obtained by grain size reduction to the nm-scale and the fact that the electrodeposited material is optimally positioned away from the neutral bending axis of the composite cellular struts or ligaments. This article presents an overview of the potential for structural reinforcement of bending-dominated and stretching-dominated cellular architectures by nanocrystalline electrodeposition.
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