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From Mechanical Metamaterials to Machine Materials

Corentin Coulais FOM Institute AMOLF, Amsterdam

Due the recent advent of 3D printing, the last few years have seen a revolution in artificial periodic composites with extremely tunable electromagnetic, acoustic, thermal and mechanical properties, which cannot be found in nature and which find multiple applications in detection, cloaking and energy harvesting devices. Most of these so-called metamaterials exhibit a linear response which simplifies the problem of their design but limits the scope of realizable properties. Yet, metamaterials become particularly interesting in mechanics, where nonlinear response is much more accessible and stronger than in any other physical field.
In this talk, I will show that mechanical metamaterials using geometrical nonlinearities and mechanical instabilities lead to entirely new properties and functionalities such as elastic memory, negative stiffness and programmable response. Using 3D printing of flexible materials, precision desktop experiments, numerical modeling and theory, we demonstrate that flexible metamaterials can be designed, fabricated and programmed for specific mechanical tasks. Such approach opens up promising pathways to bridge the gap between Matter and Machine.