Aperiodic Mechanical Metamaterials: Bridging the Gap between Matter and Machine

Summary

I propose to develop aperiodic mechanical metamaterials, made of deformable elastic unit cells tiled in a 3D cubic lattice. While periodic mechanical metamaterials have very recently caught a lot of attention, their aperiodic counterparts remain completely unexplored. I will exploit their complex mechanisms to create and program simple machine materials that can do specific mechanical tasks.
Building on my recent work in 3D printing of soft structures, I will manufacture such metamaterials with highly deformable constituents and probe the emergence of collective elastic instabilities and nonlinear motion. I will use these mechanisms to create programmable materials.

I will follow three lines of attack:

1. I will explore the combinatorial design space for the ordering of the unit cells to obtain novel elastic properties.

2. I will harness elastic instabilities to create machine materials that can mechanically recognize patterns.

3. I will introduce vacancy defects, to enable 3D shape-changing metamaterials.

Combining cutting-edge additive manufacturing techniques, desktop scale experiments and numerical optimization, I will discover the physics of programmable mechanical metamaterials to create machine matter.

Details

Project number

680-47-445

Main applicant

Dr. C.J.M. Coulais

Affiliated with

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, Leids Instituut voor Onderzoek in de Natuurkunde (LION)

Team members

Dr. C.J.M. Coulais

Duration

01/01/2016 to 01/01/2019