Created a flexible metamaterial that hardens under the influence of a magnetic field

Created a flexible metamaterial that hardens under the influence of a magnetic field

TOa team of engineers from the Livermore National Laboratory. Lawrence has developed a new plastic metamaterial that instantly solidifies under the influence of a magnetic field..

The non-standard properties of the material are provided by its synthetic structure, consisting of a network of 3D-printed plastic tubes, 0.5 cm long, filled with a liquid mixture of oil and tiny iron particles. Under normal conditions, metal microparticles are randomly distributed in the oil, so the suspension is in a liquid state. However, near the magnet, iron particles line up in chains along the field lines, making the mixture viscous and the lattice rigid..

The engineers decided to make the material in the form of a network of tubes, since a solid piece would be heavy and expensive to manufacture. During the tests, it was found that when one segment moves at a distance of eight to one centimeter from the magnet, its rigidity increased by about 62%.

Created a flexible metamaterial that hardens under the influence of a magnetic field

According to the inventors, the new metamaterial can be combined with electromagnets in various devices, allowing them to control their physical structure. For example, robotic technology with variable structural rigidity will be able to wade into tight spaces, but remain yet strong enough to carry and move other objects. The metamaterial can also be used to craft body armor and sports helmets, making them more adaptable.

British scientists recently invented an equally unusual material that gets thicker when stretched.

text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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