Microvascular materials contain a vascular network for the storage and transport of functional fluids within a host material. By circulating a variety of different types of fluids these materials exhibit pluripotent functionality. For example, coolants can be circulated to provide thermal management (i.e. self-cooling) while ferrofluids can be distributed to modulate electromagnetic properties. We have developed a variety of manufacturing techniques to seamlessly integrate multiscale vascular networks within host polymers and polymer matrix composites and are pursuing a number of multifunctional applications.
Microvascular composites that contain a circulatory system are being developed to expand the temperature range for their use in structural applications.
In addition to imparting self-healing or thermal management in synthetic material systems, microvascular networks also provide a means to modulate electromagnetic (EM) properties.