Mechanics of Robotic Metamaterials

We are interested in the mechanics of slender structures and their applications in robotic metamaterials with innovative functions. These functions include tunable mechanical properties such as stress-strain relations, energy absorption, and vibration isolation, as well as programmable robotic behaviors such as shape-morphing, mechanical sensing, actuation, memory, and computation. Our aim is to design and analyze these types of intelligent systems by harnessing mechanics theory, numerical simulations, and physical experiments.

Research Summary

The Principal Investigator

Dr. Mingchao Liu (刘明超) is currently an Assistant Professor at University of Birmingham. Before move to Birmingham, he was a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore from 2022 to 2023, and a Newton International Fellow at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, sponsored by the Royal Society from 2018 to 2022. He graduated from Tsinghua University in 2018 with a PhD in Engineering from the Department of Engineering Mechanics. During his Ph.D study, he spent six months in 2017 as a visiting research fellow at the University of Sydney under the support of the Endeavour Research Fellowship. Prior to this, He received his B.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Shandong University in 2013.

Recent News

  1. 2023/12: Our paper, ‘Hierarchical Tessellation Enables Programmable Morphing Matter.’, has been published in Matter.
  2. 2023/11: Dr. Liu has been awarded the prestigious Extreme Mechanics Letters (EML) Young Investigator Award. Congratulations!
  3. 2023/11: Prof. Burigede Liu from the University of Cambridge visited our group and delivered a talk entitled ‘Towards Quantum Computing in Solid Mechanics’.
  4. 2023/10: Mr. Nan Li from Xi’an Jiaotong University has joined the group as a visiting PhD student. Welcome!
  5. 2023/09: Mr. Qun Zhang has joined the group as a PhD student. Welcome!
  6. 2023/09: Dr. Liu has finished the PPF position at NTU and moved to University of Birmingham to start the Assistant Professor position since 1st September.
  7. 2023/08: Our paper, ‘Inverse design and additive manufacturing of shape-morphing structures based on functionally graded composites.’, has been published in JMPS, which is Highlighted in Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) News.
  8. 2023/08: Our review paper, ‘Modeling and simulation of dynamics in soft robotics: A review of numerical approaches.’, has been published in Curr. Robot. Rep..
  9. 2023/05: Our paper, ‘Bifurcations and stability analysis of elastic slender structures using static discrete elastic rods method.’, has been published in JAM.
  10. 2023/04: Our paper, ‘Encoding and storage of information in mechanical metamaterials.’, has been published in Adv. Sci., which is Highlighted in Advanced Science News and Featured as the Back Cover.
  11. 2023/02: Our paper, ‘Modeling of magnetic cilia carpet robots using discrete differential geometry formulation.’, has been published in EML.
  12. 2023/02: Our paper, ‘A discrete model for the geometrically nonlinear mechanics of hard-magnetic slender structures.’, has been published in EML.
  13. 2023/01: Our paper, ‘Insect-scale jumping robots enabled by a dynamic buckling cascade.’, has been published in PNAS, which is Highlighted in TechXplore, University Oxford News, Oxford Mathematical Institute Case Study, and Science.
  14. 2023/01: Dr. Liu has been appointed as the Extreme Mechanics Letters - Early Career Advisory Board (EML-ECAB) member. Congratulations!
  15. 2022/11: Our paper, ‘Snap-induced morphing: From a single bistable shell to the origin of shape bifurcation in interacting shells.’, has been published in JMPS.
  16. 2022/09: Our paper, ‘Modular multistable metamaterials with reprogrammable mechanical properties.’, has been published in Eng. Struct.
  17. 2022/08: Our paper, ‘Shape-morphing structures based on perforated kirigami.’, has been published in EML.