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Engineering Materials

An entirely new approach to engineering materials has produced stiff lightweight structures that can be tailored towards a variety of uses. A radical new civil engineering approach towards producing a new material is being undertaken by Professors Mike Ashby and Norman Fleck and Dr. Vikram Deshpande. The so-called Lattice Materials are built up on the principles of triangulation, more commonly encountered in civil engineering. "The notion is to move away from material that is used only for its mechanical properties, and to start looking for multi-functional properties instead" explains Norman Fleck.

Lattice material

Investigations of natural cellular materials show that stiffness degrades faster than relative density but these lattice materials are designed to overcome that problem. Produced by injection moulding and investment casting, the new materials look like miniaturised structural steel trellises more normally seen on a large scale for producing bridges or steel frame buildings. Their geometries are based on the crystal structures found in metals and rocks.