Structured Sheet Materials

Disney Research Group proposed a comprehensive approach to characterizing the mechanical properties of structured sheet materials, i.e., planar rod networks whose mechanics and aesthetics are inextricably linked.

They established a connection between the complex mesoscopic deformation behavior of such structures and their macroscopic elastic properties through numerical homogenization. Their approach leverages 3D Kirchhoff rod simulation in order to capture nonlinear effects for both in-plane and bending deformations.

They applied their method to different families of structures based on isohedral tilings— a simple yet extensive and aesthetically interesting group of space-filling patterns. They showed that these tilings admit a wide range of material properties, and their homogenization approach allowed them to create concise and intuitive descriptions of a material’s direction-dependent macromechanical behavior that are easy to communicate even to non-experts.

They performed this characterization for an extensive set of structures and organize these data in a material browser to enable efficient forward exploration of the aesthetic-mechanical space of structured sheet materials. They also proposed an inverse design method to automatically find structure parameters that best approximate a user-specified target behavior.

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