Metamaterials with amplitude gaps for elastic solitons


We combine experimental, numerical, and analytical tools to design highly nonlinear mechanical metamaterials that exhibit a new phenomenon: gaps in amplitude for elastic vector solitons (i.e., ranges in amplitude where elastic soliton propagation is forbidden). Such gaps are fundamentally different from the spectral gaps in frequency typically observed in linear phononic crystals and acoustic metamaterials and are induced by the lack of strong coupling between the two polarizations of the vector soliton. We show that the amplitude gaps are a robust feature of our system and that their width can be controlled both by varying the structural properties of the units and by breaking the symmetry in the underlying geometry. Moreover, we demonstrate that amplitude gaps provide new opportunities to manipulate highly nonlinear elastic pulses, as demonstrated by the designed soliton splitters and diodes. Here, the authors experimentally observed, numerically simulate, and mathematically analyze the existence of amplitude gaps for elastic vector solitons in highly deformable mechanical metamaterials consisting of rigid units and elastic hinges.

Nature Communications