This material can take and hold any shape

This material can take and hold any shape

Conformable and rigid at the same time, totimorphic materials could lay the foundations for a new engineering of functional forms

(image: Harvard Seas / Twitter) . Totimorphic material, developed by Harvard researchers John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, can transit through an infinity of positions and orientations and remain stable, and could find applications in various fields, from robotics to architecture. >
SEAS researchers developed a shape-shifting material that can take and hold any possible shape, paving the way for a new type of multifunctional material that could be used in a range of applications, from robotics and biotechnology to architecture.

- Harvard SEAS (@hseas) October 22, 2021 | material is different from all the others existing so far because it manages to combine conformability (ie the ability to assume different shapes) and rigidity, two apparently contradictory properties. In fact, if a material is too conformable it will not bea> able to maintain any shape stably, if it is too rigid it does not change configuration.

If until now it had been possible to obtain conformable materials but stable only in certain shapes, the US engineers seem to have found the solution: a material composed of cells with neutral stability, made of two rigid structural elements (strut and lever ) and two elastic springs which can be extended to balance the forces. A bit like the lamp that opens Pixar's animated films, the authors write, whose head "is stable in every position because the force of gravity is always counterbalanced by the springs that stretch and compress in a coordinated way, regardless of the configuration of the lamp ".

The project of the new material, published the research in the journal Pnas, has been validated both by mathematical models and by empirical tests, with the realization of 2D and 3D structures. By varying their size, the researchers argue, totimorphic materials could lend themselves to applications on any scale.

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