According tomedia New Atlas, the microstructure of the material plays a huge role in its ability to absorb shocks. Now researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the United States have discovered a particularly useful structure. The team printed the cube in 3D, and there was a fractal gap inside the cube, which could be a useful structure for new materials in helmets, armor, and other protective items.
Materials that require seismic itys usually have gaps in the structure to help dissipate shock waves. But the exact shape of these structures is still being tested, and researchers are testing “nanofoams,” glyphs, honeycombs and microcrystalline patterns. For the new study, LANL researchers looked at fractals. These intricate patterns consist of structures that repeat on ever smaller scales, in which case cubes with hollow holes are dotted.
The team 3D printed plastic cubes engraved with fractal holes, with varying degrees of detail. They then fired impactors at about 670 mph (1078 km/h) to test the impact resistance of each design. The researchers found that the more complex the structure, the more capable it is to dissipate shock waves. Some of these cubes work five times better than solid cubes made of the same material.
The team says the fractal gap cube’s structure could provide new protective materials for vehicles, helmets, body armor and other things that may need to withstand shock waves.
Still, the researchers acknowledge that current designs are not necessarily the most effective. Next, the team is working on other void shapes and structures using optimization algorithms.
“The goal of this work is to manipulate the wave interactions generated by shock waves,” said Dana Dattelbaum, lead author of the study. “The guidelines for how to do this are not well defined, and of course it is less likely than mechanical deformation of the added-in manufacturing material. We are defining these principles due to advanced, mesoscale manufacturing and design. “
The study will be published in the journal AIP Advances.