Chen lab receives MURI grant to create new topological mechanical metamaterials
The grant, which awarded $1.25M to Chen lab by the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative of the Office of Naval Research, is part of a project to study gaps in efforts to realize topological mechanical metamaterials (TMMs) that can change their properties based on external impacts.
Chen’s role will be in using her group’s expertise in colloidal nanoparticle synthesis and liquid-phase transmission electron microscopy to design the building blocks that can self-assemble into any structure, which will create the TMMs on the nanoscale. From the foundational knowledge gained by this research, materials may be developed to shift or disperse impact from collisions, while remaining flexible under regular conditions. Examples include helmets, cars, and body armor.
The project will be led by the University of Michigan and Chen will collaborate with a team of experts including Prof. Xiaoming Mao (the lead PI) and Prof. Kai Sun from physics (U of M), Prof. Ellen Arruda (U of M) and Prof. Zi Qi (Dartmouth) from mechanical engineering, and Prof. Nick Kotov from chemistry (U of M).