Reconfigurable devices, whose shape can be drastically altered, are central to expandable shelters, deployable space structures, reversible encapsulation systems and medical tools. All these applications require structures whose shape can be actively controlled, both for deployment and to conform to their surroundings. While most reconfigurable designs are application specific, our group works towards mechanical metamaterials that can reconfigure their shape, in order to tune their properties. Examples that we have worked on include mechanical metamaterials with tunable volume and stiffness.
Our approach exploits modular origami-like designs consisting of rigid faces and hinges, which are connected to form thin-walled building blocks. We developed a computational algorithm to design and simulate the response of tessellations of these building blocks, in order to design reconfigurable metamaterials. In particular, recent efforts have focused on the use of the nonlinear mechanical response that some of these building blocks show, to design multistable metamaterials that exhibit a few well-defined stable shapes. A particular question that we are currently focusing on is how to design folding pathways in 2D fold patterns by using bistable hinges. Importantly, the mechanical principles on which the behavior is based are scale-independent, making our metamaterials candidates for e.g. meter-scale transformable architecture, to micro- and nano-meter reconfigurable acoustic wave guides, microelectronic mechanical systems, and energy storage systems.
Iniguez-Rabago, A., Li, Y., Overvelde, J.T.B., (2019). Exploring Multistability in Prismatic Metamaterials through Local Actuation. Nature Communications. [AMOLF News] [Scientific American] [web]
Overvelde, J. T. B., Weaver, J., Hoberman, C., Bertoldi, K., (2017). Rational Design of Reconfigurable Prismatic Architected Materials. Nature. [News & Views in Nature] [Harvard News] [De Volkskrant] [De Volkskrant online] [pdf]
Babaee, S., Overvelde, J. T. B., Chen, E. R., Tournat, V., Bertoldi, K., (2016). Reconfigurable Origami-inspired Acoustic Waveguides. Science Advances. [pdf]
Overvelde, J. T. B., de Jong, T. A., Shevchenko, Y., Becerra, S. A., Whitesides, G. M., Weaver, J., Hoberman, C., Bertoldi, K., (2016). A three-dimensional actuated origami-inspired transformable metamaterial with multiple degrees of freedom. Nature Communications. [NRC Handelsblad] [Financial Times] [Tech Insider] [Daily Mail] [The Telegraph] [Smithsonian] [ResearchGate featured article] [New Scientist][Mic] [The Engineer] [TU Delta] [Harvard News] [pdf]