PerspectiveMaterials Science

Deformations in Extreme Matter

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Science  16 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5473, pp. 1976-1977
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.1976

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Most materials become narrower in cross section when stretched, but some materials, such as foams, have the counterintuitive property of becoming fatter when stretched (they have a negative Poisson's ratio). In this Perspective, Lakes discusses how his unusual property may arise in isotropic and anisotropic materials. He highlights the study by Baughman et al., who show that anisotropic materials with a negative Poisson's ratio in one direction can be incompressible, i.e., without an overall change in volume upon stretching. This behavior is predicted for materials with very high density, such as neutron star crusts, or very low density, such as ion plasmas, and the validity of the prediction is demonstrated with experimental data for ion plasmas.