UKMMN Metamaterial Picture Competition 2022

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Image credit: Zhiqiang Meng

Inspired by the multistability and programmability of kirigami-based self-folding elements, a robust framework is introduced for the construction of sequentially programmable and reprogrammable mechanical metamaterials. The materials can be locked into a stable deployed configuration, then, using tunable bistability enabled by temperature-responsive constituent materials, return to their original reference configurations or undergo mode bifurcation. The framework provides a platform to design metamaterials with multiple deployable and reversible configurations in response to external stimuli. We envision a range of additional applications for these multi-step, multimodal mechanical metamaterials across different length scales. For example, millimeter-level vascular stents are limited to a single deployed shape that is determined prior to surgery, but no longer need to be limited in this way. Metamaterials with some actuation encoded via self-folding can enable complex motions with fewer actuators and simplifies control. The methods of this paper can enable robots and deployable structures to adopt a plurality of shapes and configurations, possibly extending to large, stable deployable structures.

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