Mechanical Metamaterials

Mechanical metamaterials are rationally designed structures of precision geometrical arrangements leading to unusual physical and mechanical properties.  Inspiration for mechanical metamaterials design often comes from biological materials (such as honeycombs and cells), from molecular and crystalline unit cell structures as well as the artistic fields of origami and kirigami. While early mechanical metamaterials had regular repeats of simple unit cell structures, increasingly complex units and architectures are now being explored. This field has been enabled by rapid developments in 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques, allowing fabrication of intricate architectures in a range of different materials down to the nanometre scale. Applications of these structures include control of wave propagation, energy absorption, shape morphing as well as unusual mechanical properties such as auxeticity.

Editors from journals across the Nature Portfolio are delighted to present this collection of research and reviews published over the past two years on the science and technology of mechanical metamaterials. The publications have been divided into three classifications, Design and Synthesis, Functional Structures, and finally Properties and Applications. We are happy to announce that research publications from the Nature journals are free to access for the month of July, 2022.

This collection was curated by the editorial team of Communications Engineering, Nature Portfolio’s multidisciplinary engineering journal:

scanning electron micrograph image collage with an artistic rendering overlay

Design and Synthesis

Functional Structures

Properties and Applications