Vascularized networks with two optimized channel sizes

  • Wang K
  • Lorente S
  • Bejan A
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This paper reports the development of optimal vascularization for supplying self-healing smart materials with liquid that fills and seals the cracks that may occur throughout their volume. The vascularization consists of two- dimensional grids of interconnected orthogonal channels with two hydraulic diameters (D-1, D-2). The smallest square loop is designed to match the size (d) of the smallest crack. The network is sealed with respect to the outside and is filled with pressurized liquid. In this work, the crack site is modelled as a small spherical volume of diameter d. When a crack is formed, fluid flows from neighbouring channels to the crack site. This volume-to-point flow is optimized using two formulations: (1) incompressible liquid from steady constant-strength sources located in every node of the grid and from sources located equidistantly on the perimeter of the vascularized body of length scale L and (2) slightly compressible liquid from an initially pressurized grid discharging in time-dependent fashion into one crack site. The flow in every channel is laminar and fully developed. The objectives are (a) to minimize the global resistance to the flow from the grid to the crack site and (b) to minimize the time of discharge from the pressurized grid to the crack site. It is shown that methods (a) and (b) yield similar results. There is an optimal ratio of channel diameters D-2/D-1 < 1, and it decreases as the grid fineness (L/d) increases. The global flow resistance of the grid with optimized ratio of diameters is approximately half of the resistance of the corresponding grid with one channel size (D-1=D-2). The optimized ratio of diameters and the minimized global resistance depend on how the grid intersects the crack site: this effect is minor and stresses the robustness of the vascularized design.

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