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Vascular structures for smart features: Self-cooling and self-healing
Here we show how smart features of self-cooling and self-healing can be gained to mechanical systems with embedded vascular structures. Vascular structures mimic the circulatory system of animals. Similar to blood distribution from heart to the animal body, vascular channels provide the distribution of coolant and/or healing agent from a point to the entire body of a mechanic system. Thus the mechanic system becomes capable of cooling itself under unpredictable heat attacks and capable of healing itself as cracks occur due to applied mechanical loads. These smart features are necessary for advanced devices, equipment and vehicles. The essential design parameter is vascularization in order to provide smart features. There are distinct configurations for vascularization such as radial, tree-shaped, grid and hybrids of these designs. In addition, several theories are available for the shape optimization of vascular structures such as fractal theory and constructal theory. Unlike fractal theory, constructal theory does not include constraints based on generic algorithms and dictated assumptions. Therefore, constructal theory approach is discussed in this paper. This paper shows how smart features can be gained to a mechanical system while its weight decreases and its mechanical strength increases simultaneously.