Machine augmented composites utilizing an hourglass shaped core element in a soft nearly incompressible matrix Conference Paper uri icon


  • Machine Augmented Composites (MAC) have small, simple machines embedded in a matrix. MACs might provide materials with advantageous properties or new functions. Example properties are materials with increased damping or negative Poisson's ratio. New functions might include the ability to change shape or to adjust stiffness. In the MAC material studied here the matrix is a soft polyurethane elastomer and the embedded machine is a nylon, hourglass-shaped element. The desired improvements should give the composite material the ability to change shape and perform useful work. The hourglass core elements elongate as they are pressurized, which actuates the structure. The elastomer matrix, which is nearly incompressible, aids the expansion. The commercial code ABAQUS was used to study the MACs deformation and to predict its response. Potential applications for this research in the automotive industry are in energy absorption and dissipation. Sandwich panels that change shape could increase driver and passenger safety by adapting the automotive body shell to road conditions or by damping noise and vibration. These panels might deploy like an air bag to absorb energy around passengers during an accident. Machine augmented composites are a promising field with potential to produce materials that serve as both structure and mechanism.

author list (cited authors)

  • Elwell, R. C., & Creasy, T. S.

publication date

  • December 2008