University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars > Microstructure for continuous and localised intrinsic curvature creation – “strong” micromechanics

Microstructure for continuous and localised intrinsic curvature creation – “strong” micromechanics

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Nematic elastomers and glasses hugely and reversibly contract/elongate parallel/perpendicular to their directors under heating or illumination. With uniform directors and as slender sheets, they can pull with huge load-to-weight ratios, but cannot push because of Euler instabilities. For complex tasks at small scales, the material must be the machine itself . We show how to design continuous, non-uniform director fields enable flat sheets to develop intrinsic curvature , , that is mostly continuously distributed, and thereby adopt complex shapes. Likewise, piecewise-continuous fields give Gaussian curvature localised at points , much as origami folding of paper does. But in this case the “origami” is instead non-isometric . The blocking of emerging non-developable surfaces causes stretch away from the new metric and the response can be strong pulling, but also strong pushing without Euler failures. New micromechanical possibilities arise.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars series.

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