Tunable metamaterials that can be deformed to a ‘in-between’ state could have applications in safer and more durable battery construction.
Typically, metamaterials can only switch between two distinct states, which limits their application somewhat. The new material, however, features a silicon and lithium chemistry that can be triggered to change shape and then freeze when exposed to an electrical current. According to the team, a key design element of the ‘architected material’ is the intentional imperfections built into the lattice structure that allow it to change shape as desired.
The team hopes that the material could find its way into safer batteries, since it can expand and contract during charging without mechanical degradation.