|A rubber sheet with weird properties, held by Bastiaan Florijn of Leiden University. Credit: Mike Lucibella|
|Bastiaan Florijn at APS March Meeting.|
Credit: Mike Lucibella
A metamaterial is something that is carefully engineered to have unique properties that are not often found in nature. This could be a naturally-brittle material that is built, folded, or cut in such a way to become elastic. Or a sound-absorbing material that is tuned to only absorb kinds of sounds. The key idea is that it is the structure, not the type of material (e.g. rubber, metal, or wood) that controls the mechanical properties of the material.
In Florijn's case, he wanted to make a material that could buckle under pressure in a controlled way, and bounce back to its original shape afterwards. This could be useful in creating car bumpers that squish and absorb energy in a collision, but can return to their pristine state afterwards.
Read the rest of the post . . .