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Structured membranes

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We are proposing elastomeric structured membranes for wave energy converters, the material changes the mechanical response based on the amount of deformation produced by the wave conditions. The concept implements different types of patterns on elastomeric membranes where the geometry of the patterns is modified as the membrane is deformed, leading to an alignment of the pattern with the load. As the pattern is aligned, the stiffness of the structure increases withstanding stronger wave conditions. On the other hand, when the wave conditions are mild the pattern has more degrees of freedom and the structure can adapt better to the waves. The concept will increase the survivability of the device and energy efficiency through a better distribution of the stiffness in the structure based on the wave conditions. We have analysed different patterns and depending on the pattern the response of the layer could be isotropic, orthotropic or anisotropic, this behaviour, similar to composites,  allows aligning the pattern with the load requirements.

Numerical models have been proposed using finite element methods to analyse the behaviour of the patterns, obtaining a good agreement between the numerical and the experimental results. The numerical models contribute to the study of the effect of geometric and material parameters on the structural response of the devices.