Seminar: Architected Materials - From Reconfigurability to Nonlinear Waves

Boggs Building, Room B5
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 11:15


Dr. Katia Bertoldi
Associate Professor of Applied Mechanics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University

In the search for materials with new properties, there have been great advances in recent years aimed at the construction of architected materials, whose behaviour is governed by structure, rather than composition. Through careful design of the material’s architecture, new material properties have been demonstrated, including negative Poisson’s ratio, high stiffness-to-weight ratio and mechanical cloaking.

In this talk I will focus on two different types of architected materials. First, I will introduce a robust design strategy inspired by the snapology origami technique to create highly reconfigurable 3D architected materials comprising a periodic assembly of rigid plates and elastic hinges. Then, I will focus on soft architected materials and show that they provide an ideal environment for the propagation of nonlinear waves, since they can support a wide range of effective nonlinear behaviors that are determined by the architecture.


Katia Bertoldi is the Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Mechanics at the Harvard John A.Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She earned master degrees from Trento University (Italy) in 2002 and from Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) in 2003, majoring in Structural Engineering Mechanics. Upon earning a Ph.D. degree in Mechanics of Materials and Structures from Trento University, in 2006, Katia joined as a PostDoc the group of Mary Boyce at MIT. In 2008 she moved to the University of Twente (the Netherlands) where she was an Assistant Professor in the faculty of Engineering Technology. In January 2010 Katia joined the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and established a group studying the mechanics of materials and structures. She is the recipient of the NSF Career Award 2011 and of the ASME's 2014 Hughes Young Investigator Award.

Dr Bertoldi’s research contributes to the design of materials with a carefully designed meso-structure that leads to novel effective behavior at the macroscale. She investigates both mechanical and acoustic properties of such structured materials, with a particular focus on harnessing instabilities and strong geometric non-linearities to generate new modes of functionality. Since the properties of the designed architected materials are primarily governed by the geometry of the structure (as opposed to constitutive ingredients at the material level), the principles she discovers are universal and can be applied to systems over a wide range of length scales.