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Handedness in shearing auxetics creates rigid and compliant structures

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Science  11 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6389, pp. 632-635
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4586

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Giving a hand to metamaterials

Auxetic materials expand in an unusual way: perpendicular to the direction in which they are stretched. Lipton et al. engineered a type of auxetic material that also has handedness. When this material is sheared, it twists either to the right or the left. By tiling the underlying patterns onto spheres and cylinders, rigid or compliant structures can be made. Linear and 4-degree-of-freedom actuators can thus be made from hollow tubes, which could be valuable for a variety of engineering and medical applications.

Science, this issue p. 632

Abstract

In nature, repeated base units produce handed structures that selectively bond to make rigid or compliant materials. Auxetic tilings are scale-independent frameworks made from repeated unit cells that expand under tension. We discovered how to produce handedness in auxetic unit cells that shear as they expand by changing the symmetries and alignments of auxetic tilings. Using the symmetry and alignment rules that we developed, we made handed shearing auxetics that tile planes, cylinders, and spheres. By compositing the handed shearing auxetics in a manner inspired by keratin and collagen, we produce both compliant structures that expand while twisting and deployable structures that can rigidly lock. This work opens up new possibilities in designing chemical frameworks, medical devices like stents, robotic systems, and deployable engineering structures.

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