A liquid metal-based structurally embedded vascular antenna: I. Concept and multiphysical modeling

D. J. Hartl, G. J. Frank, G. H. Huff, J. W. Baur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work proposes a new concept for a reconfigurable structurally embedded vascular antenna (SEVA). The work builds on ongoing research of structurally embedded microvascular systems in laminated structures for thermal transport and self-healing and on studies of non-toxic liquid metals for reconfigurable electronics. In the example design, liquid metal-filled channels in a laminated composite act as radiating elements for a high-power planar zig-zag wire log periodic dipole antenna. Flow of liquid metal through the channels is used to limit the temperature of the composite in which the antenna is embedded. A multiphysics engineering model of the transmitting antenna is formulated that couples the electromagnetic, fluid, thermal, and mechanical responses. In part 1 of this two-part work, it is shown that the liquid metal antenna is highly reconfigurable in terms of its electromagnetic response and that dissipated thermal energy generated during high power operation can be offset by the action of circulating or cyclically replacing the liquid metal such that heat is continuously removed from the system. In fact, the SEVA can potentially outperform traditional copper-based antennas in high-power operational configurations. The coupled engineering model is implemented in an automated framework and a design of experiment study is performed to quantify first-order design trade-offs in this multifunctional structure. More rigorous design optimization is addressed in part 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025001
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • aerospace
  • antenna
  • composites
  • liquid metal
  • microvascular
  • multifunctional composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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