Lauren Dreier was paging via a nineteenth century ebook by the German architect Gottfried Semper when she noticed some intriguing patterns impressed by lace. Knowledgeable artist and designer who usually incorporates expertise into her work, Dreier, who can also be a doctoral pupil on the Faculty of Structure at Princeton College, determined to recreate the printed illustrations in 3D.
She grabbed ribbon-like plastic materials she had been experimenting with in her studio, bending and connecting the semi-rigid strips. To Dreier’s shock, the construction she constructed assumed a bumpy geometry, with 4 distinct hills and valleys. “I believed it could make a dome, however it was this uncommon form,” Dreier stated. Curious to know what brought on this sudden twist, she reached out to Sigrid Adriaenssens, an affiliate professor in Princeton’s Division of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Adriaenssens couldn’t clarify it, both, however she, too, was intrigued. She proposed a joint investigation to seek out out what was behind the unusual structural mechanics.
Dreier’s discovery wound up resulting in the creation of a reconfigurable construction the researchers termed a bigon ring. By tweaking the precise design of the construction’s patterns, the staff was in a position to produce a number of geometries that come up from completely different looping behaviors. Based on a paper describing the findings within the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, the numerical framework behind the invention may be utilized to any basic elastic rod community, whether or not made from thread, bamboo or plastic. It might additionally result in the creation of recent merchandise and applied sciences which can be able to altering form to enhance efficiency beneath variable situations from spacecraft to wearable expertise.
“Drawing inspiration from patterns in lacing, I believe we will say no one’s accomplished that earlier than,” Adriaenssens stated. “A few of these behaviors have been very sudden, and simply by adjusting the angle or the width, you get a completely completely different conduct.”
To research the physics behind these observations, Dreier labored intently with a number of collaborators, together with Tian Yu, a postdoctoral researcher in Adriaenssens’ lab. “That is my first time working with an artist, and I by no means anticipated to work on a mission impressed by lace,” Yu stated. “I’m fascinated by the mechanics a part of this mission.”
In contrast to conventional lace makers who use mushy threads twisted collectively, the researchers organized their creations into free, looping formations. “It’s all about creating extra area between the nodes,” Dreier stated. The staff began by making closed buildings referred to as bigons by fixing the ends of two initially straight strips at a sure angle, creating eye- or almond-like varieties. Just like metallic hair clips from the Nineteen Nineties, the bigons exhibited bistability, or two completely different steady shapes that the buildings might toggle between when slight stress was utilized.
From there, the researchers organized a number of bigons into a sequence, after which a loop by connecting their ends. The bistable bigons collectively created an general construction that might type quite a few doable geometries. The buildings have been multistable, which means they have been made up of a group varieties every of which might be steady unbiased of the others. Bigon rings, as they referred to as these new varieties, typically exhibited the same folding conduct as a bandsaw blade, looping again on themselves. However their conduct may be tuned by adjusting the intersection angle and the facet ratio of the strips that composed the bigons, and by altering the variety of bigons that made up the ring.
As Dreier labored on constructing these buildings, Yu created a numerical mannequin particular to them utilizing Kirchhoff rod equations for a way a skinny, elastic rod behaves when loaded with forces and displacements. The researchers have been in a position to verify the accuracy of the mannequin by taking measurements from Dreier’s bodily creations and evaluating the outcomes. The computational mannequin additionally made it doable to establish completely different configurations that the bigons or bigon rings would possibly be capable to take theoretically. The researchers then examined these mathematical predictions via the bodily fashions to see which equilibria have been steady and which weren’t. “Numerous forwards and backwards got here from Tian going deep into the info and saying, ‘In case you make a six-bigon ring at such-and-such an angle, what occurs?’” Dreier stated.
The staff ultimately produced a brand new numerical mannequin that captures multistable conduct, and that the researchers say may be utilized to different research that study the mechanics of basic interlaced elastic networks.
In future work, the staff plans to conduct a extra in depth investigation of the numerous shapes that bigon-based buildings are able to forming, and methods to greatest obtain particular goal shapes. Finally, their findings might result in new designs for supplies that have to be packed to take up as little room as doable, however that assume a a lot bigger type when unpacked. “For instance, supplies and buildings that go into area must be folded right into a bundle, put in a rocket after which must broaden into as giant a dimension as doable,” Adriaenssens stated. “A few of these mixtures of parameters try this.”
Different potential real-world functions embrace novel mushy robotic arms, toys and wearable expertise. The latter, for instance, might embrace particular textiles that stiffen to help somebody’s arm in a sure place, and loosen in others. “It will possibly envelop issues or not, stiffen or not,” Adriaenssens stated. “It will possibly have many features.”
Along with the sensible functions of the work, the mission additionally demonstrates the largely untapped worth of interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and engineers. Whereas artwork tends to be pushed by instinct and emotions that function exterior of the realm of scientific pondering, “it may possibly result in discoveries of some fascinating phenomena,” Dreier stated. “I used to be actually excited that these completely different worlds might come collectively in a really related manner.”
Reference: “Numerical modeling of static equilibria and bifurcations in bigons and bigon rings” by Tian Yu, Lauren Dreier, Francesco Marmo, Stefano Gabriele, Stefana Parascho and SigridAdriaenssens, 24 April 2021, Journal of Mechanics and Physics of Solids.
Moreover Adriaenssens, Dreier and Yu, co-authors embrace Stefana Parascho, of the Princeton Faculty of Structure; Stefano Gabriele, of Roma Tre College; Francesco Marmo, of the College of Naples Federico II. Assist for the mission was offered partially by the Princeton Faculty of Engineering and Utilized Science Challenge X Fund, the Princeton College Magic Grants for Innovation and The Council for Worldwide Educating and Analysis.