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RESEARCH CHALLENGE 4: COMPUTATIONAL DESIGN OF META-MATERIALS FOR ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS

RELEVANCE AND NOVELTY

New products demand new and competitive materials with multiple functions including mechanical resistance, sensing, actuation or energy-harvesting capabilities, adaptability/tunability or the ability to self-repair.

This need has led to the new field of META-MATERIALS. Due to the arrangement and properties of their constituents, meta-materials can be engineered (or architected) to exhibit new or enhanced effective properties. This field has been enabled by new micro-fabrication technologies (i.e. additive manufacturing). Architected meta-materials have been developed in photonics and acoustics for attenuating selected ranges of frequencies and to produce ultra-light materials with desired mechanical properties. Nonlinear metamaterials have been found with unique topological properties, exhibiting extreme shock absorbing and restitution thanks to micro-buckling.

Some meta-materials are inspired in biological materials. Their design faces the computational challenge of examining a high-dimensional design space where the material topology, morphology & arrangement have to be optimized.

Living tissues can be seen as active materials (epithelial tissues are used as a bioengineering material in organ-on-a-chip devices). Here, the properties at a mesoscale emerge from the collective interactions and micro-architecture defined by cells.

Despite the importance of this new field, however, the ways in which meta-materials can be architected and processed are not understood.

GOALS OF RESEARCH CHALLENGE 4

We aim to develop new NM for analysis and predictive design of multifunctional architected materials. Research Challenge in this field will be carried out mainly through the following RTD Group of CIMNE.

  • RTD Group on Computational Design and Analysis of Engineering Meta-Materials (PI: X. Oliver)

This group will develop new computational tools for designing metamaterials with extreme acoustic, mechanical and electro-magnetic properties for engineering applications. The Research Challenge methodology lies on the synergetic balance of: 1) Multi-scale modelling of materials, 2) Reduced order modelling to alleviate the huge computational cost inherent to multiscale simulations, & 3) Topological optimization of the material meso-scale to achieve the desired properties.

Research activities will be carried out mainly in cooperation with the following RTD Groups of CIMNE:

  • RTD Group on Soft and Living Material Interfaces (PI: Marino Arroyo)

The group will develop theoretical and computational models to quantitatively understand the mechanobiology of these interfaces. The goal is to rationally manipulate these active living materials to engineer bionic devices, in the same way that we manipulate inert engineering materials.

Research activities will be carried out in cooperation with the following RTD Groups of CIMNE:

  • RTD Group on Mechanics of Electroactive Materials (PI: Irene Arias)

This group will develop numerical methods to quantify flexo-electricity in solids, focusing on continuum models but also exploring multiscale aspects, in tight collaboration with experiments. We will explore the effects of strain gradients on the physics of dielectrics, identifying fundamental manifestations and identifying the underlying engineering principles for a new generation of electromechanical metamaterials.

Research activities will be carried out in cooperation with the following RTD Groups of CIMNE: