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Published July 12, 2017 | Submitted
Journal Article Open

Intrinsically Polar Elastic Metamaterials


In many applications, one needs to combine materials with varying properties to achieve certain functionalities. For example, the inner layer of a helmet should be soft for cushioning while the outer shell should be rigid to provide protection. Over time, these combined materials either separate or wear and tear, risking the exposure of an undesired material property. This work presents a design principle for a material that gains unique properties from its 3D microstructure, consisting of repeating basic building blocks, rather than its material composition. The 3D printed specimens show, at two of its opposing faces along the same axis, different stiffness (i.e., soft on one face and hard on the other). The realized material is protected by design (i.e., topology) against cuts and tears: No matter how material is removed, either layer by layer, or in arbitrary cuts through the repeating building blocks, two opposing faces remain largely different in their mechanical response.

Additional Information

© 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Version of record online: 3 May 2017; Manuscript Revised: 16 March 2017; Manuscript Received: 26 January 2017. The authors acknowledge fruitful discussions with A. Foehr, T. Lubensky, and V. Vitelli and the authors thank T. Jung for help with the additive manufacturing. O.R.B. acknowledges support from the ETH Postdoctoral Fellowship FEL-26 15-2. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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