Mechanics of Robotic Metamaterials

We are interested in the mechanics of slender structures and their applications in robotic metamaterials with innovative functions, which can be referred to as ‘‘Mechanorobotics’’. These functions include programmable robotic behaviors such as shape-morphing, mechanical sensing, actuation, memory, and computation, as well as tunable mechanical properties such as stress-strain relations, energy absorption, and vibration isolation. 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. 2024/06: Our paper, ‘Exploiting dynamic bifurcation in elastic ribbons for mode skipping and selection.’, has been published in J Mech. Phys. Solids.
  2. 2024/05: Our paper, ‘Integration of kinks and creases enables tunable folding in meta-ribbons.’, has been published in Matter.
  3. 2024/05: Dr. Liu has been selected as a winner of the Young Scientist Support Grant for The 26th International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM 2024) held in Daegu, Korea on August 25-30, 2024.
  4. 2024/04: Our paper, ‘Dehydration-induced corrugated folding in Rhapis excelsa plant leaves.’, has been published in PNAS and Featured in the This week in PNAS and the News of the University of Birmingham.
  5. 2024/02: Our paper, ‘Bio-inspired facile strategy for programmable osmosis-driven shape-morphing elastomer composite structures.’, has been published in Materials Horizons.
  6. 2024/02: Our paper, ‘Tunable mechanics of architectured composites from particle assemblies.’ has been published in EML and Featured as the Front Cover.
  7. 2024/02: Dr. Liu has been featured on the News of the University of Birmingham.
  8. 2023/12: Our paper, ‘Hierarchical Tessellation Enables Programmable Morphing Matter.’, has been published in Matter.
  9. 2023/11: Dr. Liu has been awarded the prestigious Extreme Mechanics Letters (EML) Young Investigator Award. Congratulations!
  10. 2023/11: Prof. Burigede Liu from the University of Cambridge visited our group and delivered a talk entitled ‘Towards Quantum Computing in Solid Mechanics’.
  11. 2023/10: Our review paper, ‘Morphing matter: From mechanical principles to robotic applications.’ has been published in Soft Science and Featured as the Front Cover.
  12. 2023/10: Mr. Nan Li from Xi’an Jiaotong University has joined the group as a visiting PhD student. Welcome!
  13. 2023/09: Mr. Qun Zhang has joined the group as a PhD student. Welcome!
  14. 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.