Mechanical metamaterials are synthetic materials whose mechanical properties are governed primarily by the architecture of their intricate cellular or porous microstructure, and not by their chemical composition. In 2018, the global metamaterials market size was $448 million, and is expected to grow to $1.8 billion by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 32%. Mechanical metamaterials are seen as critical enablers for lightweight structural applications that require not only high stiffness and strength but also possess additional built-in functionalities such as enhanced heat transfer, energy absorption, and programmable shape morphing features.
Here, we propose to develop a novel strategy for the design and fabrication of geometrically tailored mechanical metamaterials with enhanced specific strength, stiffness, and energy absorption capacity. By combining detailed finite element calculations with a heuristic optimization scheme, we will design unit cells with geometrically tailored structural features that maximize the specific strain energy storage in bend-dominated cellular networks. State-of-the-art 3D printing technology will be used to fabricate the geometrically tailored lattice designs developed in this project, and their mechanical properties will be experimentally evaluated and benchmarked against already existing stretch and bend dominated metamaterials.
The project will have a broader impact on the UAE society and economy by providing a superb research platform that will enable the development of innovative engineering systems for the future of the nation’s economic growth, particularly in the Aerospace and Defense sector. Furthermore, the project will strongly contribute to the development of human capital through training and mentoring of graduate students and provide promising potential for the generation of intellectual property and technology transfer to the industry.