Discretely assembled mechanical metamaterials

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Science Advances  18 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 47, eabc9943
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc9943


Mechanical metamaterials offer exotic properties based on local control of cell geometry and their global configuration into structures and mechanisms. Historically, these have been made as continuous, monolithic structures with additive manufacturing, which affords high resolution and throughput, but is inherently limited by process and machine constraints. To address this issue, we present a construction system for mechanical metamaterials based on discrete assembly of a finite set of parts, which can be spatially composed for a range of properties such as rigidity, compliance, chirality, and auxetic behavior. This system achieves desired continuum properties through design of the parts such that global behavior is governed by local mechanisms. We describe the design methodology, production process, numerical modeling, and experimental characterization of metamaterial behaviors. This approach benefits from incremental assembly, which eliminates scale limitations, best-practice manufacturing for reliable, low-cost part production, and interchangeability through a consistent assembly process across part types.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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