Mechanical metamaterials at the theoretical limit of isotropic elastic stiffness

J. B. Berger, H. N. G. Wadley, R. M. McMeeking

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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Abstract

A wide variety of high-performance applications1 require materials for which shape control is maintained under substantial stress, and that have minimal density. Bio-inspired hexagonal and square honeycomb structures and lattice materials based on repeating unit cells composed of webs or trusses2, when made from materials of high elastic stiffness and low density3, represent some of the lightest, stiffest and strongest materials available today4. Recent advances in 3D printing and automated assembly have enabled such complicated material geometries to be fabricated at low (and declining) cost. These mechanical metamaterials have properties that are a function of their mesoscale geometry as well as their constituents3,5–12, leading to combinations of properties that are unobtainable in solid materials; however, a material geometry that achieves the theoretical upper bounds for isotropic elasticity and strain energy storage (the Hashin–Shtrikman upper bounds) has yet to be identified. Here we
evaluate the manner in which strain energy distributes under load in a representative selection of material geometries, to identify the morphological features associated with high elastic performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-537
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume543
Issue number7646
Early online date20 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2017

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