Design of smart multifunctional structures using electro-active P(VDF-co-TrFE) materials

Active material, and more precisely piezoelectric materials are very appealing as they offer the possibility to design smart and multifunctional structures. The word “smart” is related here with the possibility of those structures to react dynamically to their environment and the word “multi-functional” to the fact that several functions can be simultaneously achieved by relying on this smartness ability. One can thus imagine structures able to monitor autonomously their health state (structural health monitoring), to actively control their vibration level (active control), or to provide a haptic or audio feedback to a user … Ceramic piezoelectric materials (PZT) have been widely used in that area but suffers from several limitations that hinder their practical use: their geometries are constrained to simple shapes, they are fragile from a mechanical point of view, and they contain lead which is
environmentally not acceptable. Newly developed active materials such as P(VDF-co-TrFE) (Poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene)) overcome these problems because they can be printed in any form, are not brittle and are lead-free. P(VDF-co-TrFE) copolymers thus offer numerous applications opportunities in the smart multifunctional structures context as they can be fully optimized to achieve a set of desired target functions.

The main challenges related with the wide deployment and adoption of P(VDF-co-TrFE) based smart multi-functional structures are:

  • their electromechanical properties and their interaction with their host structure are still not well understood and need to be experimentally characterized and numerically modeled
  • algorithms for optimizing a whole P(VDF-co-TrFE) network satisfying a set of target functions does not exist and cost functions dedicated to the target functions need to be defined
  • this concept of “design for smart functions” approach has never been experimentally demonstrated in a practical real-life scenario

Objectives and research work:
In this context, this post-doctoral position is offered between the company Arkema which is producing P(VDF-co-TrFE) copolymers under the name Piezotech (https://piezotech.arkema.com) and the DYSCO team of the PIMM laboratory (https://pimm.artsetmetiers.fr/) which is working on smart and multifunctional structures design.

Interested candidates should send to M. Rébillat (marc.rebillat@ensam.eu), I. Iliopoulos (ilias.iliopoulos@ensam.eu), M. Pruvost (mickael.pruvost@arkema.com) and N. Mechbal (nazih.mechbal@ensam.eu) an application containing:
1) a personal motivation letter (max. 1 A4 page) describing why you apply and how the position fits into your career plans,
2) a full CV showing how your profile fits the requirements (max 4 pages),
3) an electronic copy of your PhD’s thesis
4) recommendation letters
5) a list of referees we can contact.