Strong material design is full of holes

It may not be comforting to find that the aircraft in which you’re flying is full of holes, but a group of US engineers claim a material with a porous structure can strengthen the plane.

Engineers from UniStates Technology Corporation and Tufts University of Waltham, Massachusetts, say the technology will revolutionise the design of cars, planes and most materials, products or structures.

Well-designed porous structures have a potentially higher strength to weight ratio than their fully dense counterparts, and UniStates claims to have developed a design and fabrication process that makes this possible.

Reflexive Materials Technology (RMT) uses distributed porosity, with symmetrically aligned voids, to reorganise the internal geometry of structures, making them lighter and stronger without changing their shape.

The technology could be used, for example, to give a beam an internal structure that changes the stress concentrations in the material, allowing it to carry more load.

RMT-engineered structures copy the structure of foam bubbles and are formed by joining identical and symmetrical truncated rhombic dodecahedra.

UniStates claims that RMT engineering will render other processes for the design and fabrication of porous materials obsolete.

It is now working with Tufts University on the development of a CAD/CAM-based concurrent engineering methodology, known as RMT2000, for producing these structures.

UniStates wants to hear from potential users to identify applications for this technology.

www.unistates.com

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