Matching Magnetic Heating and Thermal Actuation for Sequential Coupling in Hybrid Composites by Design


Sequentially coupling two material functions requires matching the output from the first with the input of the second function. Here, magnetic heating controls thermal actuation of a hybrid composite in a challenging system environment causing an elevated level of heat loss. The concept is a hierarchical design consisting of an inner actuator of nanocomposite material, which can be remotely heated by exposure to an alternating magnetic field (AMF) and outer layers of a porous composite system with a closed pore morphology. These porous layers act as heat insulators and as barriers to the surrounding water. By exposure to the AMF, a local bulk temperature of 71 °C enables the magnetic actuation of the device, while the temperature of the surrounding water is kept below 50 °C. Interestingly, the heat loss during magnetic heating leads to an increase of the water phase (small volume) temperature. The temperature increase is able to sequentially trigger an adjacent thermal actuator attached to the actuator composite. In this way it could be demonstrated how the AMF is able to initiate two kinds of independent actuations, which might be interesting for robotics operating in aqueous environments.
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