Modeling of Effect of Particle Size on Macroscopic Behavior of Magnetorheological Elastomers

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Kiarie, Winnie
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Jiles, David
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering teaches the composition, microstructure, and processing of materials as well as their properties, uses, and performance. These fields of research utilize technologies in metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1975 from the merger of the Department of Ceramics Engineering and the Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

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In this work we report on an investigation of the effect of the magnetic particles size on the effective macroscopic behavior of magnetorheological elastomers (MREs). MREs are a class of smart materials known for their tunable deformation. They are composite materials which consist of magnetically permeable particles in a non-magnetic polymeric matrix. When subjected to an external magnetic field, MREs respond by changing their stiffness and damping properties accordingly. The property of MRE to change their mechanical properties is widely known as the magnetorheological effect. Several factors significantly influence the magnetorheological effect such as the polymer matrix, particles-volume fraction, properties, and size of the magnetic particles. In this study, using finite element simulation we determine the correlation between the latter and the macroscopic behavior of MREs. Based on continuum formulation theory, the constitutive and geometric properties on the microscale are considered to predict the composite’s macroscopic behavior by means of a computational homogenization. Using COMSOL Multiphysics software, the magnetic and mechanical fields were defined and resolved. For a constant particle-volume fraction (φ=20%) and varying mean particle sizes (Փ=5, 10, 20 and 30 µm), a twodimensional representative volume element (RVE) was developed, and applying periodic boundary conditions the simulations were performed for isotropic (unaligned) and anisotropic (aligned) microstructures. From the results, the particle size is found to have a significant effect in the mechanical response of the MRE materials. More specifically, the magneto-induced strain effect is observed to decrease with increase in particle sizes. Also, increasing the particle sizes, is observed to lead to a linear increase in the inter-particle distance for the aligned MRE when the sample is deliberately configured such that the vertical distance between the particles is kept constant for all the particle sizes.


This is a pre-print of the article Kiarie, Winnie M., and David C. Jiles. "Modeling of Effect of Particle Size on Macroscopic Behavior of Magnetorheological Elastomers." (2020).

Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2020