Morphable Structures

January 20, 2019
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Jammed pseudo-solid materials

Jamming is a phenomenon that allows certain complex fluids to behave like solids when their density increases. Granular materials, like sand or coal, are considered complex fluids. They can attain a jammed state with applied pressure, and they become pseudosolid materials with manipulable geometry and rigidity. The principles of jamming are well established in the scientific literature, yet large-scale experiments employing the phenomenon are rare. Researchers at MIT imagine the potential for shape-changing structures and machines using this approach. Their Morphable Structures are jamming prototypes constructed to gain a better understanding of this effect. Composed of elastic membranes and sand, the pseudosolid structures suggest potential applications such as morphable furniture, a floor that dynamically changes its softness to reduce injury to a falling user, a lamp that becomes brighter when touched, or free-form artistic sculpting.

Contact: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mediated Matter Group, Cambridge, MA, USA.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

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