Universiteit Leiden

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This Week's Discoveries | 26 May 2020

dinsdag 26 mei 2020
Kaltura Live Room

The peculiar effect of a small error

About the speaker

Anne Meeussen (LION)
I am a PhD candidate in experimental physics at AMOLF and Leiden University, working with Martin van Hecke on the physics of mechanical objects. I get to work with smart and unusual materials, from mechanical computers to shape-morphing structures. Their strange behaviour comes from their internal architecture .I focus on the interplay between, topology, geometry, and mechanics, and try to  develop intuitive models for new matter. 


What is the difference between a sheet of paper and a crumpled ball of paper? Both are made from the same material, but a sheet of paper is flat and floppy, while a crumpled ball is stiff and spherical. So crumpling the sheet changes its properties. We call paper a mechanical metamaterial: by changing its shape, we change how it functions. But how exactly does one change the shape to obtain peculiar properties?

Our team, from Leiden University, AMOLF and Tel Aviv University, investigated the deliberate incorporation of a small error in a material, a topological imperfection, to observe its effects. This imperfection shows peculiar behavior when it is pressed at not one, but two points. By doing that, forces and deformations are steered to different locations inside the structure. Such a material can be used for applications where internal forces and deformations must be coordinated. These range from shoe soles and protheses to soft robots.


The peculiar effect of a small error - video

Read more about the lecture series This Week's Discoveries

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