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Learning to play LEGO with metamaterials !

Project description

Playing with LEGO bricks for metamaterial design

Metamaterials are artificial materials designed around unique patterns or structures that cause them to interact with light and sound in different ways to naturally occurring materials. The lack of a model to predict the static and dynamic response of finite-size metamaterials limits the ability to explore bricks combining metamaterials and classical materials of finite size. The EU-funded META-LEGO project will create a reduced micromorphic model that should allow reveal the static and dynamic response of metamaterial bricks of arbitrary size and shape. Proper arrangement of such ‘LEGO’ bricks could enable researchers to design surprising meta-structures, such as noise- and vibration-controlled railway stations or meta-cities entirely protected from seismic waves.


META-LEGO will bring the knowledge needed to design metamaterials/classical-materials structures that control elastic waves and recover energy. For this, I will develop, implement and validate a new paradigm for finite-size metamaterials’ modeling, by leveraging the relaxed-micromorphic model that I have contributed to pioneer.

The presence of boundaries in metamaterials strongly affects their response when coming in contact with mechanical loads. Yet, we still lack an exhaustive model to predict the static/dynamic response of finite-size metamaterials: current homogenization methods are unsuitable to provide a coherent transition from infinite- to finite-size metamaterials modeling. This prevents us from exploring realistic structures combining metamaterials’ and classical-materials’ bricks of finite size.

META-LEGO hypothesizes that the mechanical response of finite-size metamaterials can be explored going beyond classical homogenization. Instead, I will create an elastic- and inertia-augmented micromorphic model with embedded internal lengths to describe the main metamaterials’ fingerprint characteristics, such as anisotropy, dispersion, band-gaps, size-effects, etc.

To provide this paradigm shift, I will focus on 4 objectives:
1. Model metamaterials’ response under static/dynamic loads
2. Implement the model on infinite-size metamaterials
3. Validate the model on finite-size metamaterials
4. Design and manufacture metamaterials/classical-materials structures able to control elastic waves and recover energy

The reduced model’s structure (free of unnecessary parameters), coupled with well-posed boundary conditions, will allow us to unveil the static/dynamic response of both real and not-yet-existing metamaterials’ bricks of arbitrary size and shape. Playing LEGO with such bricks, we will be able to design and optimize surprising meta-structures, such as noise- and vibration-controlled railway stations, or meta-cities entirely protected from seismic waves.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 2 000 000,00
44227 Dortmund

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Arnsberg Dortmund, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 2 000 000,00

Beneficiaries (2)