Buckling metamaterial is both stiff and soft

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands developed a metamaterial that can absorb vibrations but are stiff enough not to collapse under pressure.

Generally, materials are either good in absorbing vibrations, like a mattress, or are stiff, like a brick wall. To make a material that is both, the researchers used thin metal plates that can buckle. When attached in a certain way, the buckling provides a shock absorbing effect, while at the same time, they retain their stiffness. The metal plates do not have to be thick, so the metamaterial can be lightweight.

The applications vary from the size of meters (such as aerospace, the automotive industry and all kinds of other applications in society) to the microscale (such as in microscopes or in nanolithography).

Image: D. Dykstra et al.