“Beyond Chainmail: Computational Modeling of Discrete Interlocking Materials” by Tang, Coros and Thomaszewski

  • ©Pengbin Tang, Stelian Coros, and Bernhard Thomaszewski




    Beyond Chainmail: Computational Modeling of Discrete Interlocking Materials

Session/Category Title: Pushing the Boundaries




    We present a method for computational modeling, mechanical characterization, and macro-scale simulation of discrete interlocking materials (DIM)—3D-printed chainmail fabrics made of quasi-rigid interlocking elements. Unlike conventional elastic materials for which deformation and restoring force are directly coupled, the mechanics of DIM are governed by contacts between individual elements that give rise to anisotropic deformation constraints. To model the mechanical behavior of these materials, we propose a computational approach that builds on three key components. (a): we explore the space of feasible deformations using native-scale simulations at the per-element level. (b): based on this simulation data, we introduce the concept of strain-space boundaries to represent deformation limits for in- and out-of-plane deformations, and (c): we use the strain-space boundaries to drive an efficient macro-scale simulation model based on homogenized deformation constraints. We evaluate our method on a set of representative discrete interlocking materials and validate our findings against measurements on physical prototypes.


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