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A theoretical and experimental framework for novel metamaterial with programmable damping properties is presented. This material system is able to switch between elastic-dominated and damping-dominated regimes with different overall stiffness under dynamic loading depending on the external stimulus. The unit cell combines an auxetic and a bellow-like layer separated by an interface through which the amount of media flow can be tuned depending on the lateral strain. A simplified analytical model is derived to analyse the programmable damping effect. The model is further extended with a fluid-dynamics approach to link the effective damping properties with geometrical parameters to aid with the practical design of the metamaterial. Afterward, experiments are conducted on a macroscopic level using laser-sintered unit cells to validate the functionality of the concept both with air and water as media within the unit cells. To conclude the work, initial results on microscopic-level unit cells fabricated by two-photon lithography are introduced to showcase the scalability of the concept. This work provides an experimentally validated theoretical framework for future investigations to design unit cells with programmable damping on different length scales for applications requiring tailored dynamic energy dissipation.
Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are a type of programmable materials capable of transforming their shapes in a pre-programmed way upon the application of an external stimulus. These materials have been tested for various potential applications particularly in the biomedical field for polymers with general and specific requirements. This review focuses on the recent advances in biomedical applications, including self-tightening sutures, pressure bandages, self-expansion stents, tissue engineering scaffolds, artificial muscles, drug delivery, and orthodontic archwires, after a brief description of the concepts, classifications, programming procedures, and material requirements of SMPs.
As a major approach for controlling electromagnetic (EM) waves, metamaterials have experienced an abundant and rapid development in the 21st century. They have provided flexible and powerful techniques for controlling EM waves and brought many unique applications that are difficult to realise with natural materials. With increasing demands on dynamic controls of the EM waves, many innovations have been conducted in both three-dimensional metamaterials and two-dimensional metasurfaces, in which the meta-atom has been gradually evolved from passive to active. In 2014, coding and digital mechanisms were initially introduced to the metamaterials, further advancing the appearance of digitally programmable metamaterials. The programmable metamaterials have shown great potentials in not only real-time manipulations of the EM waves, but also direct information processing on the EM wave level. In this article, we present an in-depth review of the programmable EM metamaterials and metasurfaces, focusing on the programmable features including theoretical concepts, implementing methods and applications in EM controls. We first give a short retrospect of traditional metamaterials and metasurfaces, followed by the concepts and detailed discussions of digital coding and field-programmable metamaterials. Then, we introduce space-domain, time-domain and space–time-domain programmable metamaterials and metasurfaces, mainly focusing on their theories, functionalities, experimental implementations, and system-level applications. Finally, we conclude the current advances of the programmable metamaterials and metasurfaces, and give a prospect for the future developments.
Mechanical metamaterials have attracted extensive attention. This paper reports a metamaterial with tunable elastic wave bandgaps based on bistable buckling structure. First, we find that deformation of two symmetric buckling shells is intrinsically asymmetric, which blocks the realisation of robust tunability. Based on an analytical model, we clarify that the mechanisms for this intrinsic asymmetricity are the bifurcations on force–deformation curves. Then we propose a superposition method of buckling shells, which can realise the symmetric deformation for robust tunable stiffness. Using this variable-stiffness oscillator, we design a metamaterial sandwich beam, and numerically and experimentally demonstrate its tunable bandgap for vibration suppression. This paper presents the unusual deformation process of buckling elements widely used for constructing metamaterials, and provides a robust way to realise metamaterials with tunable vibration bandgaps.
This paper proposes a methodology for architecting microstructures with extremal stiffness, yield, and buckling strength using topology optimisation. The optimised microstructures reveal an interesting transition from simple lattice-like structures for yield-dominated situations to hierarchical lattice structures for buckling-dominated situations. The transition from simple to hierarchical is governed by the relative yield strength of the constituent base material as well as the volume fraction. The overall performances of the optimised microstructures indicate that maximum strength is determined by the buckling strength at low-volume fractions and yield strength at higher-volume fractions, regardless of the base material’s relative yield strength. The non-normalised properties of the optimised microstructures show that higher base material Young’s modulus leads to both higher Young’s modulus and strength of the architected microstructures. Furthermore, the polynomial order of the maximum strength lines with respect to mass density obtained from the optimised microstructures reduces as base material relative yield strength decreases, reducing from 2.3 for buckling-dominated thermoplastic polyurethane to 1 for yield-dominated steel microstructures.
Programmable active matter (PAM) combines information processing and energy transduction. The physical embodiment of information could be the direction of magnetic spins, a sequence of molecules, the concentrations of ions, or the shape of materials. Energy transduction involves the transformation of chemical, magnetic, or electrical energies into mechanical energy. A major class of PAM consists of material systems with many interacting units. These units could be molecules, colloids, microorganisms, droplets, or robots. Because the interaction among units determines the properties and functions of PAMs, the programmability of PAMs is largely due to the programmable interactions. Here, we review PAMs across scales, from supramolecular systems to macroscopic robotic swarms. We focus on the interactions at different scales and describe how these (often local) interactions give rise to global properties and functions. The research on PAMs will contribute to the pursuit of generalised crystallography and the study of complexity and emergence. Finally, we ponder on the opportunities and challenges in using PAM to build a soft-matter brain.
Herein, a new method to synthesise epoxide-based sequence-controlled polymers via anionic ring-opening monomer addition, a form of anionic ring-opening polymerisation, is presented. This technique allows in combination with post-polymerisation modification (PPM) reactions for the successful preparation of modified mPEG-b-oligo(allyl glycidyl ether) featuring the incorporation of one repeating unit on average at a time. Due to the possible introduction of a vast variety of molecules to the polymeric system via PPM reactions, a multitude of advanced functional polymeric materials can be generated. This, in combination with the chain extension reactions, allows for the synthesis of well-controlled and programmable architectures with particular properties. The structure of the sequence-controlled polymer was confirmed via 1H NMR spectroscopy, size exclusion chromatography, attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry.
Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are programmable materials par excellence. I review the history and state of the art of LCE materials and processing development from the perspective of the important remaining step of moving out of the academic research lab and applying LCEs as soft actuators or strain sensors. After a brief introduction for the non-expert of what LCEs are and which their main advantages and limitations are, I discuss the key breakthroughs that LCE research has undergone over its 50-year history. Building on this and drawing from fresh results from on-going research, I consider possible future development trajectories that would help address the outstanding key obstacles to reach mass production at competitive cost. I end with discussing a selected set of application scenarios with good opportunities for LCEs to perform functions that no other material could deliver. Specifically, I focus on responsive buildings incorporating LCE actuator fibres and sheets/ribbons, structural health monitoring with LCE strain sensors monitoring crack growth and propagation or alerting residents of buildings exposed to dangerous levels of deformation, and kinetic and responsive garments incorporating LCE fibre actuators and/or strain sensors.
Shape-memory polymers can be used to develop thermoresponsive programmable materials that can take on sensory and actuator tasks as their ambient temperature changes. In this contribution, a self-synthesised poly(1,10-decylene adipate) diol-based polyester urethane (PEU) was used for their fabrication. After processing the PEU into filaments, programmable materials, including a gear-like object, the teeth of a ‘bevel gear’ and a unit cell, were additively manufactured by fused filament fabrication. In any case, a thermomechanical treatment was conducted that involved the deformation of the polymer at 75°C. After cooling to 15°C, the programmable materials were unloaded and the thermoresponsiveness between 23°C and 58°C was investigated. A maximum thermoreversible change in height of about 39% was detected for the ‘gear’. With regard to the ‘bevel gear’, proof of feasibility was provided for use as overheating protection, so that a force transmission could be switched off when heated and switched on when cooled down. The unit cell actuated under a weak external load of 0.01 N, thus exhibiting thermoreversible length changes of about 45%.