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Published May 17, 2017 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Atomimetic Mechanical Structures with Nonlinear Topological Domain Evolution Kinetics


A mechanical metamaterial, a simple, periodic mechanical structure, is reported, which reproduces the nonlinear dynamic behavior of materials undergoing phase transitions and domain switching at the structural level. Tunable multistability is exploited to produce switching and transition phenomena whose kinetics are governed by the same Allen–Cahn law commonly used to describe material-level, structural-transition processes. The reported purely elastic mechanical system displays several key features commonly found in atomic- or mesoscale physics of solids. The rotating-mass network shows qualitatively analogous features as, e.g., ferroic ceramics or phase-transforming solids, and the discrete governing equation is shown to approach the phase field equation commonly used to simulate the above processes. This offers untapped opportunities for reproducing material-level, dissipative and diffusive kinetic phenomena at the structural level, which, in turn, invites experimental realization and paves the road for new active, intelligent, or phase-transforming mechanical metamaterials bringing small-scale processes to the macroscopically observable scale.

Additional Information

© 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Received: October 27, 2016; Revised: February 7, 2017; First published: 21 March 2017. The authors acknowledge the support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through CAREER Award CMMI-1254424.

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