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Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 10;6:34924. doi: 10.1038/srep34924.

Structurally Efficient Three-dimensional Metamaterials with Controllable Thermal Expansion.

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1
Mechanical Engineering Department, McGill University, 817 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC, H3A OC3, Canada.

Abstract

The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of architected materials, as opposed to that of conventional solids, can be tuned to zero by intentionally altering the geometry of their structural layout. Existing material architectures, however, achieve CTE tunability only with a sacrifice in structural efficiency, i.e. a drop in both their stiffness to mass ratio and strength to mass ratio. In this work, we elucidate how to resolve the trade-off between CTE tunability and structural efficiency and present a lightweight bi-material architecture that not only is stiffer and stronger than other 3D architected materials, but also has a highly tunable CTE. Via a combination of physical experiments on 3D fabricated prototypes and numeric simulations, we demonstrate how two distinct mechanisms of thermal expansion appearing in a tetrahedron, can be exploited in an Octet lattice to generate a large range of CTE values, including negative, zero, or positive, with no loss in structural efficiency. The novelty and simplicity of the proposed design as well as the ease in fabrication, make this bi-material architecture well-suited for a wide range of applications, including satellite antennas, space optical systems, precision instruments, thermal actuators, and MEMS.

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