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Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar

Thursday, February 20, 2020
11:00am to 12:00pm
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Gates-Thomas 135
Multistable Structures - from Energy Trapping to Morphing
Katia Bertoldi, Professor, Harvard John A.Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences,

In the search for materials with new properties, there have been great advances in recent years aimed at the construction of mechanical systems whose behaviour is governed by structure, rather than composition. Through careful design of the material's architecture, new material properties have been demonstrated, including negative Poisson's ratio, high stiffness-to-weight ratio and mechanical cloaking. While originally the field focused on achieving unusual (zero or negative) values for familiar mechanical parameters, more recently it has been shown that non-linearities can be exploited to further extend the design space. In this talk I will focus on multistable building blocks (i.e. building blocks with multiple stable configurations) and show that they provide an ideal platform for the design of structures and materials with new modes of functionality, including shape-reconfigurable architectures, fully elastic and reusable energy-trapping metamaterials, systems to manipulate the propagation of elastic pulses and even soft robots capable of jumping.

For more information, please contact Carolina Oseguera by phone at (626) 395-4271 or by email at