In recent years there are more various applications of so-called metamaterials. They have a number of unique properties not available «common» materials. And recently, researchers from the University of Michigan has developed a complex material that changes its hardness and strength in response to external voltage. This material can be used in car frame, making them harmless in case of accident.
The newly created metamaterial capable «switching» its state from soft to hard in case of need. The application of mechanical impact like the blow causes the material to change the strength and hardness of the whole surface.
Such properties of the metamaterial has gained due to its unique spatial structure. It consists of a set of small cores connected «struts». The blow causes the rods to change their location relative to each other, and the lattice changes its topological properties, and the material becomes soft or hard, depending on the vector of the applied voltage. As the rods absorb and dissipate energy of mechanical action, the material structure does not undergo deformation.
These amazing properties, as the researchers suggest, can find wide application in various fields. In addition to the aforementioned automotive industry, they can be used to create tires for different types of transport which would not require pumping and can adapt to any surface. According to the author survey and the Creator of the material Xiaoming Mao,
«In the use of our metamaterial can be called «frame airbag». The bodywork of the car can be turned into a great «airbag», which will absorb and redistribute impact energy, reducing the level of damage and the consequences of them. When such a car will move normally, his body will be the usual stiffness. But at the moment of collision body and frame of the car will be something like rubber, absorbing impact energy and protects the passengers inside it».
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