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Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering >> 2024, Volume 19, Issue 1 doi: 10.1007/s11465-023-0776-9

Design, fabrication, and characterization of hierarchical mechanical metamaterials

Available online: 0000-00-00

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Natural mechanical materials, such as bamboo and bone, often exhibit superior specific mechanical properties due to their hierarchical porous architectures. Using the principle of hierarchy as inspiration can facilitate the development of hierarchical mechanical metamaterials (HMMs) across multiple length scales via 3D printing. In this work, we propose self-similar HMMs that combine octet-truss (OCT) architecture as the first and second orders, with cubic architecture as the third or more orders. These HMMs were fabricated using stereolithography 3D printing, with the length sizes ranging from approximately 200 µm to the centimeter scale. The compressive stress–strain behaviors of HMMs exhibit a zigzag characteristic, and the toughness and energy absorption can be significantly enhanced by the hierarchical architecture. The compressive moduli are comparable to that of natural materials, and the strengths are superior to that of most polymer/metal foams, alumina hollow/carbon lattices, and other natural materials. Furthermore, the flexural stress–strain curves exhibit a nonlinear behavior, which can be attributed to the hierarchical architecture and local damage propagation. The relatively high mechanical properties can be attributed to the synergistic effect of the stretch-dominated OCT architecture and the bending-dominated cube architecture. Lastly, an ultralight HMM-integrated unmanned aerial vehicle (HMM-UAV) was successfully designed and printed. The HMM-UAV is ~85% lighter than its bulk counterpart, remarkably extending the flight duration time (~53%). This work not only provides an effective design strategy for HMMs but also further expands the application benchmark of HMMs.

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