Exploiting Negative Poisson's Ratio to Design 3D-Printed Composites with Enhanced Mechanical Properties

Yanyu Chen, Tiantian Li, Xiaoyi Hu, Yangbo Li, Lifeng Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Scopus Citations


Auxetic materials exhibiting a negative Poisson's ratio are shown to have better indentation resistance, impact shielding capability, and enhanced toughness. Here, we report a class of high-performance composites in which auxetic lattice structures are used as the reinforcements and the nearly incompressible soft material is employed as the matrix. This coupled geometry and material design concept is enabled by the state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technique. Guided by experimental tests and finite element analyses, we systematically study the compressive behavior of the 3D printed auxetics reinforced composites and achieve a significant enhancement of their stiffness and energy absorption. This improved mechanical performance is due to the negative Poisson's ratio effect of the auxetic reinforcements, which makes the matrix in a state of biaxial compression and hence provides additional support. This mechanism is further supported by the investigation of the effect of auxetic degree on the stiffness and energy absorption capability. The findings reported here pave the way for developing a new class of auxetic composites that significantly expand their design space and possible applications through a combination of rational design and 3D printing.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
JournalMaterials and Design
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-71053


  • 3D printing
  • auxetics
  • composites
  • energy absorption
  • lattice materials
  • stiffness


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