Growth, Form and Feel: Using Geometrical Principles to Manipulate the Shape and Mechanics of Elastic Sheets
Recent experimental advances promise an era of “smart” materials based on controlling the patterning of heterogeneous structure in soft polymer films. As one example, I will discuss our group’s work on “programming” flat films that autonomously buckle into prescribed three-dimensional shapes, including both smooth shapes and origami-like folded shapes. In particular, I will highlight some of the theoretical underpinnings driving the design of these responsive, self-folding materials. One possible application is in the fabrication of “mechanical metamaterials,” which, by virtue of their structure, can exhibit mechanical properties rarely - if ever - found in nature. I will discuss our recent theoretical progress understanding the relationship between shape and mechanical response.