Polymer-based heterogeneous materials become preferable to traditional single-phase materials in a wide range of critical applications where performance requirements such as strength-to-weight ratio, space constraints, and overall system energy efficiency are important. Among these critical applications, the development of high-performance stimuli-responsive polymeric materials such as Polyvinylidene fluoride, PVDF, and its co-polymers as active material systems in the areas of human-robot collaboration and human support in space applications not only represents an important area of current research, but it also plays a key role as the future of space exploration takes its shape. While there is a constant need for new breakthroughs in polymer chemistry, the main barrier to realization of devices with theoretically-predicted performances and required reliability lies in the lack of suitable manufacturing capabilities in which the material and spatial composition of the end product can be precisely planned, executed, and controlled: a closed-loop hybrid metal-polymer direct digital manufacturing approach. To address the multitude of issues preventing the application of manufacturing processes to the prototyping and fabrication of multi-scale polymer-metal heterogeneous materials, a transformational approach is being developed wherein a set of solid-state polymer and metal processing techniques are combined to achieve additive fabrication of polymer-metal smart composites.
Prof. Hsu grew up in the machine shops and has been in the fields of Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering, and Materials Science for the past 20 years. After working in the industry as a mechanical design engineer and manufacturing project lead, he returned to academia for advanced study in materials and manufacturing. He received his Ph.D in Mechanical Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, and has since then devoted his professional life to engineering research, mentoring and teaching engineers, as well as developing engineering products. He believes that asking meaningful scientific “why”, “how”, and “who cares” questions, sets the foundation of everything we do as engineering researchers. As a researcher, he seeks to bridge the gap between new scientific discoveries and their end-user applications by addressing the need for new manufacturing processes to bring theoretical materials and applications to reality. He believes the most effective way to advancing manufacturing is a science-based view of manufacturing research with an approach in which material-process interactions are understood and harnessed to create and perfect manufacturing techniques. He is the recipient of research funding from NSF, DOD, NASA, the industry, and a co-founder of a technology startup on a revolutionary ambient metal 3D printing process.
Host: Placid Ferreira
Co - Host: Nano -MFG Node