Smart Materials


Using insights from geometry and physical simulation, we can alter the behavior of materials to meet functional goals. For instance, we can cut slits into a solid, inextensible sheet of material to allow it to expand, and then by carefully designing these cuts, we can ensure the sheet pops into the curved surface of our choice when it is stretched. Or, we can design fine-scale microstructure geometry to create a 3D printed object that deforms in useful or surprising ways when forces are applied.

This approach to tailoring materials, known as metamaterial design, can enable exciting new fabrication methods and produce new classes of lightweight, robust designs. This project seeks to develop computational techniques and tools such as efficient PDE solvers and shape optimization algorithms to advance metamaterial research on several fronts.

Microstructure design: we aim to formulate new optimization-based algorithms to efficiently explore surface and volumetric microstructure designs that satisfy fabrication constraints and produce a broader class of behaviors. We also seek a better understanding and greater control of how these materials behave under large deformations.

Robust structures: we wish to develop more advanced failure criteria and corresponding optimal design tools to generate microstructures that are more resilient under unknown use cases.

Auxetic materials: We study the deformation behavior of auxetic materials to develop effective inverse design tools to rationalize complex curved surfaces with linkage-based auxetics. See our auxetic design page for more information.




3D Weaving with Curved Ribbons

Yingying Ren, Julian Panetta, Tian Chen, Florin Isvoranu, Samuel Poincloux, Christopher Brandt, Alison Martin, Mark Pauly

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH), 2021

Paper Webpage

Bistable Auxetic Surface Structures

Tian Chen, Julian Panetta, Max Schnaubelt, Mark Pauly

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH), 2021

Paper Webpage

A reprogrammable mechanical metamaterial with stable memory

Tian Chen, Mark Pauly, Pedro Reis

Nature 589, 386–390 (2021)


Worst-Case Stress Relief for Microstructures

Julian Panetta, Abtin Rahimian, and Denis Zorin

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH), 2017


Beyond Developable: Computational Design and Fabrication with Auxetic Materials

Mina Konaković, Keenan Crane, Bailin Deng, Sofien Bouaziz, Daniel Piker, Mark Pauly

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH), 2016

Paper Webpage

Elastic Textures for Additive Fabrication

Julian Panetta, Qingnan Zhou, Luigi Malomo, Nico Pietroni, Paolo Cignoni, and Denis Zorin

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH), 2015

Paper Webpage