Tunable and Self-Sensing Microwave Composite Materials Incorporating Ferromagnetic Microwires
New types of stress sensitive and magnetic field tunable microwave composite materials are discussed where embedded short ferromagnetic microwire inclusions are used as controllable radiative elements. The dc external magnetic field is applied to the whole composite structure. And, the local stress is transferred to the individual microwires through the accommodating composite matrix. The spatial and angular distributions of microwires can be random, partly ordered, or completely ordered. For a wide frequency range, the free-space microwave response of a wire-filled composite can be characterized by a complex effective permittivity with resonance frequency dispersion. The latter depends on the conductive and magnetic properties of the microwire inclusions that contribute to the ac microwire magnetoimpedance (MI). In the vicinity of the so-called antenna resonance frequency, which is defined by the length of microwires and matrix dielectric constant, any variations in the MI of the microwires will result in large changes of the effective permittivity, and hence the reflection and transmission coefficients for an incident microwave. The field or stress dependence of the effective permittivity arises from the corresponding field or stress sensitivity of the MI in the ferromagnetic microwires with induced circumferential or helical magnetic anisotropy, respectively. The strong field tunable effect in the proposed composite materials can be utilized to introduce reconfigurable microwave properties in coatings, absorbers, and randomizers, and also in new media such as microwave metamaterials and bandgap wire structures. A maximum field tunability of 30 dB was achieved for free-space transmission measurements when the external magnetic field changed from zero to ~40 Oe. The stress sensitivity of reflection and transmission coefficients opens up new possibilities for the distant non-destructive testing and evaluation of composite materials both in the laboratory environment and large scale applications. The stress tunability of transmission coefficient may reach up to 5-8 dB within the elastic limit. The reflection coefficient usually demonstrates less tunability in both cases (field and stress dependent) and may require a multilayer structure to achieve better results, but it is always strong enough for the stress sensing applications.
Pietro VINCENZINI and Giuseppe D'ARRIGO
D. Makhnovskiy et al., "Tunable and Self-Sensing Microwave Composite Materials Incorporating Ferromagnetic Microwires", Advances in Science and Technology, Vol. 54, pp. 201-210, 2008