Manufacturing of microvascular networks for multifunctional composites

Chris L. Mangun, Jason F. Patrick, Nancy R. Sottos, Scott R. White

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Here we show advancements for a recently developed technique [1-3] designated vaporization of sacrificial components technology (VascTech), where inverse replica microvasculature is created within fiber-composites through thermal depolymerization of a sacrificial precursor. Metal catalyst micro-particles are incorporated into a commodity biopolymer, poly(lactic) acid (PLA), and processed into fibers, sheets, and also printable filament for additive manufacturing known as fused deposition modeling (FDM). These sacrificial polymer templates can be incorporated into composite reinforcement preforms in a variety of ways including weaving, interlaminar stacking, direct printing, etc. VascTech is both economical and scalable using commercially available materials, processes, and equipment. This technology allows the fabrication of multidimensional (1D-3D) inverse vascular architectures, enhancing the dynamic functionalities for composites to attain self-healing, thermal management, electromagnetic (EM) modulation, and others via simple fluid substitution. In addition to providing enhanced multifunctional properties, vascular networks also possess damage-tolerant features inherent to natural vasculatures including crack-blunting and flow-path redundancy. Through implementation of this straightforward technique, the range and use of fiber-reinforced polymer composites is vastly expanded thus providing new opportunities for existing materials and fabrication processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2015
Event2nd Annual Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, CAMX 2015 - Dallas, United States
Duration: Oct 26 2015Oct 29 2015


Other2nd Annual Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, CAMX 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Materials Science
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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