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Soap coating Cellular Structures

Yinding Chi, Mostafa Akbari, Yuchong Gao, Mohit Patel, Kunhao Yu, Pt Brun, Masoud Akbarzadeh, Shu Yang

In the project entitled "Soap Coating Cellular Funicular Structures," a collaborative effort was undertaken with the Department of Material Science to develop a novel procedure aimed at transforming cellular structures into shell-based cellular, or shellular, configurations. The process began with the design and subsequent 3D printing of a cellular structure. This printed structure was then immersed within a soap film, resulting in the formation of a shellular structure. Notably, these soap films effectively occupied the interstitial spaces between the structural struts, thereby enhancing the structure's shear capacity.

Following the shaping of the soap film, an additional step involved the reinforcement of the film through the application of a material known as graphene oxide. Extensive scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging was conducted to meticulously investigate the behavior of the soap film. Through rigorous experimental structural analyses, it became evident that the coated shellular structure exhibited a substantial increase in its structural performance. This achievement holds great significance, as it demonstrates the utilization of inherent properties of materials like water and soap, while utilizing minimal material quantities, to substantially augment the structural load-bearing capability of the cellular structure. Importantly, both water and soap possess negligible mass and volume.

The implications of this research extend broadly to diverse applications within the construction industry. An ongoing collaboration with industrial partners focuses on employing these findings in sports, particularly in the creation of highly efficient, lightweight helmets. In this context, the helmet design involves the 3D printing of a cellular structure, subsequent immersion in a soap film, and final coating with graphene oxide—a process that draws directly from the established research outcomes.


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