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1ETH Zürich, Switzerland; 2California Institute of Technology, USA
Mechanical metamaterials are man-made solids with a carefully engineered small-scale architecture to result in beneficial effective mechanical properties. What started with acoustic metamaterials for controlling linear waves has recently been extended into various directions, including e.g. metamaterials with optimized stiffness, strength, fracture toughness, damping, or nonlinear wave propagation for a myriad of engineering applications. Being a playground for experimentalists, theoreticians and modelers alike, this area at the diffuse interface between materials and structures is rapidly expanding and combines many concepts of mechanics and applied mathematics - from homogenization and effective property extraction to the accurate constitutive modeling and fabrication of multiscale materials systems. Unlike e.g. in the creation of composite materials and alloys, the design space here resides at significantly larger, structural scales and therefore admits manipulation of the metamaterial’s microstructure with relative ease (e.g., the effective properties of periodic truss networks depend on the topology and geometry of the truss unit cell, whose limitations are only set by fabrication constraints). Besides experimental challenges associated with descending to ever-smaller scales, theoretical and computational challenges have called for methods to describe the effective, macroscale response of such heterogeneous multiscale architectures. We will survey recent progress made on those fronts while also highlighting selected open challenges and opportunities. Particular focus will be on, among others, the mechanics of lightweight truss networks and their modeling by discrete, continuum and discrete-to-continuum coupling techniques, and the nonlinear dynamic response of soft metamaterials which allows to mimic inelastic material phenomena at the structural level.