Computational design and optimization of a biomimetic self-healing/cooling material

Alejandro M. Aragón, Christopher J. Hansen, Willie Wu, Philippe H. Geubell, Jennifer Lewis, Scott R. White

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Inspired by natural examples of microvascular systems in a wide variety of living organisms, we perform the computational design of a new class of polymer-based composite materials with the unique ability to heal and/or cool in a completely autonomic fashion, i.e., without any external intervention. The design process combines graph theory to represent and evaluate the microvascular network and Genetic Algorithms (GA) to optimize the diameter of its microchannels. In this work, a multi-objective GA scheme has been adopted to optimize the network topology against conflicting objectives, which include (i) optimizing the flow properties of the network (i.e., reducing the flow resistance of the network to a prescribed mass flow rate) and (ii) minimizing the impact of the network on the stiffness and strength of the resulting composite in terms of the void volume fraction associated with the presence of the microvascular network. The flow analysis of the network is performed based on the assumption of fully established Poiseuille flow in all segments of the network, leading to the classical proportionality relation between the pressure drop along a segment and the mass flow rate. The optimized structures resulting from the optimization can then be manufactured using an automated process ("robotic deposition") that involves the extrusion of a fugitive wax to define the network. Once manufactured, the computer-aided design can then be validated through a comparison with the results obtained from flow tests. This presentation focuses on the results of the optimization of an epoxy-based composite material containing a two-dimensional microvascular network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional and Composite Materials 2007
StatePublished - 2007
EventBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional and Composite Materials 2007 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 19 2007Mar 22 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional and Composite Materials 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Biomimetic material
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Microvascular network
  • Multiobjective optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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