Ultralight mechanical metamaterials on a body centred cubic lattice

Authors: Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope, Yong Mao, and Robert S. Farr
Journal: EPL (Europhysics Letters), 119714001, 2017.
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Modern fabrication techniques offer the freedom to design and manufacture structures with complex geometry on many lengthscales, offering many potential advantages. For example, fractal/hierarchical struts have been shown to be exceptionally strong and yet light (Rayneau-Kirkhope D. et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 109 (2012) 204301). In this letter, we propose a new class of meta-material, constructed from fractal or hierarchical struts linking a specific set of lattice points. We present a mechanical analysis of this meta-material resulting from a body-centred cubic (BCC) lattice. We show that, through the use of hierarchy, the material usage follows an enhanced scaling relation, and both material property and overall efficiency can be optimised for a specific applied stress. Such a design has the potential of providing the next generation of lightweight, buckling-resistant meta-materials.