Homogenized mechanical properties of auxetic composite materials in finite-strain elasticity
Careful microstructural design can result in materials with counterintuitive effective (macroscale) mechanical properties such as a negative Poisson's ratio, commonly referred to as auxetic behavior. One specific approach to achieving auxetic behavior is to elastically connect structural elements with rotational degrees of freedom to result in elastic structures that unfold under uniaxial loading in specific directions, thereby giving rise to bi- or triaxial expansion, i.e. auxetic behavior (transverse expansion under uniaxial extension). This concept has been applied successfully to elastically coupled two-dimensional rigid rotational elements (such as rotating rectangles and triangles) which exhibit a negative effective in-plane Poisson's ratio under uniaxial (ex)tension. Here, we adopt this fundamental design principle but take it to the next level by achieving auxetic behavior in finitely strained composites made of stiff inclusions in a hyperelastic matrix, and we study the resulting elastic properties under in-plane strain by numerical homogenization. Our results highlight the emergence of auxetic behavior based on geometric arrangement and properties of the base material and demonstrate a path towards simple inclusion–matrix composites with auxetic behavior.