Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 340561
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Italy

Mid-Term Report Summary - INSTABILITIES (Instabilities and nonlocal multiscale modelling of materials)

The key to the design of a new class of materials with superior mechanical properties and of devices with unexpected performances is the investigation of the micromechanisms leading materials to failure and governing nonlinear deformation of structures.
The INSTABILITIES project aims to disclose the behaviour of materials at the verge of failure, through a combination of theoretical developments, experiments and simulations. The research led to the discovery of the rules govening folding and faulting instabilities in a microstructured continuous medium. These rules can explain how massive layers of rock strata can fold up like a book into geological formations known as chevrons, a classic example of which can be seen in Millook Haven in Cornwall. In addition, the theory of folding could be used to design structures displaying origami-like patterns. Another outcome of the research in extreme mechanics of materials was the explanation of the occurrence of conical failure patterns, as observed in the so-called "shatter cones" found in shocked rocks near meteorite impact, or in the cup-cone rupture of ductile metal bars.
To help understanding the mechanical behaviour of materials near failure, several structures were designed and analyzed when subject to strongly nonlinear deformation.
This activity shed light on a series of surprising structural performances, which led to the discovery of new self-oscillating mechanisms, capable of transforming a steady source of input energy into a vibration of tunable but fixed frequency. These systems can find applications in the design of innovative metamaterials.
Moreover, it has been shown how configurational forces, the same actions moving dislocations and defects in crystals, can be exploited to generate locomotion, or to explain unforeseen equilibrium configurations of an elastic rod, to be exploited in the design of a scale and an actuator of new conception, or to guide a self-encapsulation process, in which an elastic strip folds up on itself to enclose a component.

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