Breakthrough in Smart Materials Market: Researchers Create Shape-Shifting Material that can turn into New Shapes and Keep the Structure Consistently

Posted On December 30, 2021     

Currently, present shape-shifting materials and structures can only transition between a few stable configurations. One of the most significant setbacks in designing these materials is an intricate balance between conformability and rigidity. Conformability helps transform the new shapes; however, it is highly conformal and cannot maintain the shapes consistently. On the other hand, rigidity allows the material to get locked into place; however, it is too firm and cannot take on new forms. Both the characteristics are contradictory to each other, making it hard to balance them together.
A research team has made a breakthrough in this regard by developing new shape-shifting material. The novel creation can take on new shapes and hold them. Thus it could potentially become the foundation for multifunctional materials applicable for many applications involving biotechnology and architecture. It could also exponentially boost the Smart Materials Market as the material may allow engineered functional uses that were only a dream before.
In the study, the team showcased the method through which these structural materials were created. Further, they stated that the materials involve an arbitrary range of sharp-morphing capabilities to enable independent mechanics and geometry control. Also, they used a new form of the morphable unit cell, making the engineering of functional shapes possible.
Researchers have referred to the material as “totimorphic.” This is mainly because of its ability to morph itself into any given shape. To arrive at their creation, the team liked individual unit cells and stale joints. Thus, building 2D (Two Dimensional) ad 3D (Three Dimensional) structures through single totimorphic cells.
Through mathematical modeling and real-world demonstrations, the team provided evidence for the material’s shape-shifting ability. They demonstrated that an individual sheet of totimorphic cells curves up, twists itself into a helix, and then morphs into a shape of two distinct faces. It can even wear weight.
They further showed that these elements could be assembled into structures that can take on any shape with the help of heterogeneous mechanical responses. Since materials are based on geometry concepts, they can have various applications, including sensors in biotechnology or robotics. They could also be scaled up and used at the architectural scale.
Overall, these totimorphs could open up a window of opportunities for a new class for materials wherein the deformation response can be manipulated on numerous scales.

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