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Programmable granular metamaterials for reusable energy absorption

Lihua Jin's picture


By Kangjia Fu  Zhihua Zhao  Lihua Jin

Designing metamaterials with programmable features has emerged as a promising pathway for reusable energy absorption. While the current designs of reusable energy absorbers mainly exploit mechanical instability of flexible beams, here is created a new kind of metamaterial for reusable and programmable energy absorption by integrating rigid granular materials and compliant stretchable components. In each unit cell of the metamaterial, the stretchable components connect the granular particles to maintain the integrity and control the deformation pattern of the material. When the metamaterial is subjected to an external load, the input energy is partially trapped as elastic energy in the stretchable components, and partially dissipated by friction between the granular particles, forming hysteresis between the loading and unloading force–displacement curves. Through tuning the structural design of the metamaterial, the pretension and stiffness of the stretchable components, and the size of and friction between the particles, a vast design space is achieved to program the mechanical behavior of the metamaterial, such as the load–displacement curve, the multistability, and the amount of energy dissipation. Experimental impact tests on a thin glass panel confirm energy‐absorbing capability of the proposed metamaterial. This design strategy opens a new avenue for creating reusable energy‐absorbing metamaterials.

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