Design and Optimization of Granular Metamaterials using Artificial Evolution

Project Personnel

Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio

Principal Investigator

Yale University

Email

Corey OHern

Yale University

Email

Joshua Bongard

University of Vermont

Email

Funding Divisions

Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI), Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS)

Metamaterials capable of accessing multiple properties will lead to systems possessing a wide range of functions. Such multifunctional metamaterials will increase the autonomy, efficiency, and lifespan of systems and structures by dynamically adapting to task demands or changes in the environment. Granular metamaterials are an advantageous platform for such dynamic programmability, as the grain properties can be widely tuned to achieve different responses. Granular metamaterial response is dependent on many variables, including the grain arrangement, grain mass, modulus, and shape, friction or other interactions between grains, as well as whether the walls of the container are held fixed or can move in response to forces from the grains. With such a vast number of possible combinations of micro-structural variables, the task of designing the complex relationship between micro-structure and bulk properties is daunting. 

This Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) research applies evolutionary algorithms to efficiently search the immense parameter space of granular metamaterial designs for specific material properties, as well as identifying how a design can be perturbed to actively transition from one set of desired bulk properties to another. The project will establish a new artificial intelligence-driven approach to the design and optimization of granular metamaterials with adaptable properties. These materials will aid US productivity and prosperity by providing additional means to find and use materials impacting robotics and other technical areas.