FEIT Research Project Database

Programmable mechanical metamaterials for soft robotics

Project Leader: Ellie Hajizadeh
Primary Contact: Ellie Hajizadeh (ellie.hajizadeh@unimelb.edu.au)
Keywords: biomechanics; mathematical modelling; optimisation; robotics
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering,Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering,Mechanical Engineering

The emerging concept of mechanical meta-materials has received increasing attention during the last few years partially due to the advances in additive manufacturing techniques that have enabled fabricating materials with arbitrarily complex micro/nano-architectures. The rationally designed micro/nano-architecture of mechanical meta-materials gives rise to unprecedented or rare mechanical properties that could be exploited to create advanced materials with novel functionalities.

Soft robotics is a rather new research field that build upon soft and programmable mechanical metamaterials capable of resembling the features of the human hand, including soft touch, quick yet accurate movements, and power. Flexible mechanical metamaterials working on the basis of mechanical instability, offer unprecedented functionalities programmed into their architected fabric that make them potentially very promising as soft mechanisms. In this project, we will use computational solid mechanics to design mechanical metamaterials based on soft matter.

Another aspect of mechanical metamaterials that has not received much attention is their fatigue behaviour. The vast majority of previous studies have focused on the static, quasi-static or specific types of dynamic behaviours of mechanical meta-materials. However, actual use of mechanical meta-materials for structural applications requires a thorough study of their fatigue behaviour, which is proposed as a second possible avenue for this project.

The third avenue to explore in this project could be 3D printing the designed architectures.

Some examples of mechanical metamaterials are shown in this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP5Fk-lHvK0.

Related articles on methodologies

[1] Elnaz Hajizadeh, Shi Yu, Shihu Wang, and Ronald G. Larson, “A novel hybrid population balance—Brownian dynamics method for simulating the dynamics of polymer-bridged colloidal latex particle suspensions”, J. Rheol. 62, 235–247 (2018).

[2] Elnaz Hajizadeh, Billy Todd, Peter Daivis, Journal of Rheology, 58, 281–305 (2014)

[3] Elnaz Hajizadeh, Billy Todd, Peter Daivis, J. Chem. Phys, 142, 174911 (2015)

[4] Elnaz Hajizadeh, Billy Todd, Peter Daivis, J. Chem. Phys, 141, 194904 (2014)

[5] Guorui Zhu, Hossein Rezvantalab, Elnaz Hajizadeh, Xiaoyi Wang, Ronald G Larson, Journal of Rheology, 60, 327–343 (2016)

[6] Elnaz Hajizadeh, Ronald G Larson, Soft Matter, 13, 5942–5949 (2017)