Towards a neutrally stable compressible metamaterial

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Abstract

Neutrally stable metamaterials can maintain differ- ent shapes without any energy input, making it a key innovation in the quest for more energy-efficient technologies. Despite this intriguing property, the research in this area is scarce. This study proposes a method for achieving neutral stability in metama- terials. This method is validated with a novel unit cell design that utilizing two identical beam elements that are mirrored. Each element displays a constant force characteristic. By pre- tensioning these elements, we align their constant force regions, thereby inducing a state of neutral stability. Through finite element method (FEM) simulations and geometrical optimisation, the beam of this design is optimised to achieve the optimal constant force response. A prototype is made and a test setup is constructed to validate the accuracy of the simulations and the feasibility of the method for achieving neutral stability. Results indicate that while perfect neutral stability was not fully achieved, this method can be applied on other constant force mechanisms to create neutrally stable metamaterials.