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Penumadu Named PI for New Technical Collaboration with IACMI

Fred N. Peebles Professor Dayakar Penumadu is PI for New Technical Collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).

Dayakar Penumadu

IACMI announced the technical collaboration to develop Smart Composite Pressure Vessels (SCPV) with integrated health monitoring. IACMI is managed by Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), a not-for-profit organization established by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation established to engage educational, economic development, trade, and professional organizations to build the skills and workforce necessary for the composite industry.

The project leader for this SCPV collaboration is Steelhead Composites, and team collaborators include Teijin Carbon, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

CEE’s Fred N. Peebles Professor and JIAM Chair of Excellence Dayakar Penumadu will serve as the project’s PI, who says: “This project outcome is to develop SCPVs using carbon fiber reinforcement with integrated health monitoring that is light weight and structurally strong and efficient which is necessary for wide implementation in fuel cell cars and safely storing compressed natural gas (CNG) or hydrogen (H2). A successful development of these tanks is critical for developing smart transportation infrastructure as the success of hydrogen energy systems is strongly dependent on affordable production of low cost and lightweight hydrogen storage devices with small volume.”

The goal of this project is to develop structurally predictable, low-cost SCPVs without compromising safety by employing integrated, reliable health-monitoring. The project leverages smart fiber optic sensor technology, integrated and developed by Penumadu, to optimize carbon fiber translation and to then integrate this technology, enabling on-demand feedback on fatigue related performance.

Two CEE undergraduates, one graduate, and one post-doc scholar will be contributing to the project by working on mechanical characterization of carbon composites and integrating sensors that can monitor its health.

This technology creates new opportunities for structural health-monitoring systems to be used in the carbon fiber compressed gas composites industry. Private industry will be able to further innovate the manufacturing process in the development of composite pressure vessels in higher volume applications.

This project is directly aligned with the training and education goals of the Tickle College of Engineering and IACMI. The college is named after John D. Tickle, whose firm Strongwell has significant expertise in manufacturing low cost fiber reinforced composites using Pultrusion technique and is passionate about creating opportunities for training engineering students with skills relevant to the composites industry.