This evening, I attended the Kavli early career award in nanoscience, presented by Dr. Julia R. Greer from California Institute of Technology. She discussed the 3D architecture meta-materials. Basically, the inspiration is coming from the comparison between the Eiffel tower and the pyramid by the ancient Egypt. Although they are both huge architectures as a road mark,with similar height, the Eiffel tower used much less materials, because of the truss structure. Thus, the truss structure provided better strength/weight ratio.
Dr. Greer group used the similar concept to realize the structure in the nanoscale. The talk shows significant improvement in the strength to weight ratio. Basically, for nano-metal materials, when the thickness of the truss become equal or less than 10 nm, the 3D structure, that was originally built by brittle ceramic materials can become ductile and compressible. After that, Dr. Greer shows several other application using this 3D meta-mateirals, including the energy storage device, bio medical device, etc. One of the personal question is that how will this meta-materials behave compared to the carbon nanotube sponge, also, how easy it is to make it salable. In addition, in the compress test of the 10nm thickness compressible 3D meta-materials, will the strain rate play a role, to see how reliable this structure can become ductile during different impact.
I will go back and read more about Dr. Greer's research in Caltech.