Elsevier Distinguished Lecture in Mechanics 2019

Speaker: Prof. Chiara Daraio, California Institute of Technology

Title: Mechanics of Robotic Matters. 2019.

April 19, 2019, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ


Architected materials (aka. metamaterials) blur the boundaries between structures and materials in mechanics. Using active materials as constitutive elements in architected materials allows blurring the boundaries between robots and materials as we know them.


The rapidly evolving 3D manufacturing approaches now allow fabrication of materials with almost arbitrary architecture, different constitutive properties and ad-hoc pre-stress distribution, opening the door to new functionalities. For example, architected sheets of responsive materials can self-morph into relatively complex three-dimensional shapes.


In this talk, I discuss recent progress in the design of micro- and macro-scale, nonuniform materials that can bend into freeform objects, in response to environmental stimuli or with simple application of point loads. Engineering the distribution of residual stresses, stiffness gradients and/or cut patterns, we control the sheets’ bending and buckling, at both local and global scales. The designed distribution of responsive materials in the sheets provides a time-dependent control of the developing shapes. Programming 2D sheets into rigid, 3D geometries expands the potential of existing manufacturing tools for efficient and versatile production of 3D objects.


Finally, I show how the use of responsive materials, like shape memory polymers and liquid crystal elastomers, allows creating new, passive soft robots.