Topologically interlocked materials are a class of materials in which individual unit elements interact with each other through contact only. Cracks and other defects occurring due to external loading are contained in the individual unit elements. Thus, topologically interlocked materials are damage tolerant and provide high structural integrity. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the concepts of remanufacturing in the context of a material for which the intended use is structural such that the material's structural integrity is of concern. In particular, the study is concerned with the mechanical behavior of a topologically interlocked material.
A topologically interlocked material based on tetrahedron unit elements is investigated experimentally. Manufacturing with aid of a robotically controlled end‐effector is demonstrated, and mechanical properties are determined for a plate configuration. A conceptual mechanical model for failure of topologically interlocked materials is developed and used to interpret the experimental results.
It is demonstrated that remanufacturing of the topologically interlocked material is possible with only a limited loss of material performance. The proposed model predicts trends in agreement with the experimental findings.
While the model predictions are qualitatively in agreement with experiments, more detailed finite element models are needed to predict the material performance accurately. Experiments were conducted on a model material obtained from a 3D printer and should be verified on other solids.
The authors demonstrate that damage containment together with the absence of binders or adhesives enables reuse through remanufacturing without loss of structural integrity.
Topologically interlocked materials emerge as attractive materials for sustainable engineering once their material performance are weighted with an environmental impact factor.
Remanufacturing experiments on a novel class of materials were conducted and a new model for the characterization of the structural integrity of topologically interlocked materials is proposed and successfully evaluated against experiments in at least qualitative form.
Mather, A., Cipra, R. and Siegmund, T. (2012), "Structural integrity during remanufacture of a topologically interlocked material", International Journal of Structural Integrity, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 61-78. https://doi.org/10.1108/17579861211210009Download as .RIS
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