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This content is associated with the 2010-2011 period.

Green Milky Way

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This is an image taken under a Polarized Optical Microscope with crossed polarizers. A mesogenic cyanate ester resin is melted between glass slides under the microscope and after a short time turns into a nematic phase due to crosslinking and chain growth of the monomer into a thermoset. The resulting image is exhibiting a nematic Schlieren texture.

Crystal Angel Hair

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An image taken with a Polarizing Optical Microscope of a liquid crystalline polymer in the super cooled RT state. The polymer was melted into a nematic phase first, supercooled below the nematic/crystalline transition. The polymer crystallizes with the underlying texture of the nematic phase still present, leading to the hair like texture.

Materials Networking

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False color Scanning Electron Microscopy image taken of a high temperature thermoset open cell foam. The ligaments and struts of the foam have been coated with a shape memory polymer. The macroscopic foam works as a shape memory foam. A temporary shape can be applied that retains its structural integity up to 75C. Above 75C it relaxes back to its permanent shape and can be shaped into a different temporary form. This can be locked in by cooling back to RT.

Nano Skeleton

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False color Scanning Electron Microscopy image of a polyurethane with embedded carbon nanotubes. The foam structure of the carbon nanotube nanocomposite allows large deformations in compression. The polyurethane is a shape memory polymer and different shapes can be locked into the material. The presence of carbon nanotubes allows remote triggering of the shape recovery process from temporary to permanent shape via current or infrared light.

Computational Study of a DISI Rotary Engine

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Due to the inherent low fuel efficiency of rotary engines and increasing gas prices, application of the rotary engine in conventional automobiles is decreasing. This project seeks to introduce DISI technology to the rotary engine, thus increasing the fuel efficiency and allowing it to be another efficient power source option for aero and automotive applications.

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