Combinatorial mechanical metamaterials feature spatially textured soft modes that yield exotic and useful mechanical properties. While a single soft mode often can be rationally designed by following a set of tiling rules for the building blocks of the metamaterial, it is an open question what design rules are required to realize multiple soft modes. Multimodal metamaterials would allow for advanced mechanical functionalities that can be selected on the fly. Here we introduce a transfer matrix-like framework to design multiple soft modes in combinatorial metamaterials composed of aperiodic tilings of building blocks. We use this framework to derive rules for multimodal designs for a specific family of building blocks. We show that such designs require a large number of degeneracies between constraints, and find precise rules on the real space configuration that allow such degeneracies. These rules are significantly more complex than the simple tiling rules that emerge for single-mode metamaterials. For the specific example studied here, they can be expressed as local rules for tiles composed of pairs of building blocks in combination with a nonlocal rule in the form of a global constraint on the type of tiles that are allowed to appear together anywhere in the configuration. This nonlocal rule is exclusive to multimodal metamaterials and exemplifies the complexity of rational design of multimode metamaterials. Our framework is a first step towards a systematic design strategy of multimodal metamaterials with spatially textured soft modes.

Phys. Rev. E
Mechanical Metamaterials

Van Mastrigt, R., Coulais, C., & van Hecke, M. (2023). Emergent nonlocal combinatorial design rules for multimodal metamaterials. Phys. Rev. E, 108(6), 065002: 1–25. doi:10.1103/physreve.108.065002