Propagation of pop ups in kirigami shells


Kirigami-inspired metamaterials are attracting increasing interest because of their ability to achieve extremely large strains and shape changes via out-of-plane buckling. While in flat kirigami sheets, the ligaments buckle simultaneously as Euler columns, leading to a continuous phase transition; here, we demonstrate that kirigami shells can also support discontinuous phase transitions. Specifically, we show via a combination of experiments, numerical simulations, and theoretical analysis that, in cylindrical kirigami shells, the snapping-induced curvature inversion of the initially bent ligaments results in a pop-up process that first localizes near an imperfection and then, as the deformation is increased, progressively spreads through the structure. Notably, we find that the width of the transition zone as well as the stress at which propagation of the instability is triggered can be controlled by carefully selecting the geometry of the cuts and the curvature of the shell. Our study significantly expands the ability of existing kirigami metamaterials and opens avenues for the design of the next generation of responsive surfaces as demonstrated by the design of a smart skin that significantly enhances the crawling efficiency of a simple linear actuator.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences