Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new design system that catalogues the physical properties of a huge number of tiny cube clusters. These clusters can then serve as building blocks for larger printable objects.
The MIT researchers begin by defining a space of physical properties, in which any given microstructure will assume a particular location. For instance, there are three standard measures of a material’s stiffness: first describes its deformation in the direction of an applied force, or how far it can be compressed or stretched; second describes its deformation in directions perpendicular to an applied force, or how much its sides bulge when it’s squeezed or contract when it’s stretched; and the third measures its response to shear, or a force that causes different layers of the material to shift relative to each other.
Those three measures define a three-dimensional space, and any particular combination of them defines a point in that space.
The MIT researchers’ work was supported by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s SIMPLEX program.