We propose a comprehensive approach to characterizing the mechanical properties of structured sheet materials, i.e., planar rod networks whose mechanics and aesthetics are inextricably linked. We establish a connection between the complex mesoscopic deformation behavior of such structures and their macroscopic elastic properties through numerical homogenization. Our approach leverages 3D Kirchhoff rod simulation in order to capture nonlinear effects for both in-plane and bending deformations. We apply our method to different families of structures based on isohedral tilings - a simple yet extensive and aesthetically interesting group of space-filling patterns. We show that these tilings admit a wide range of material properties, and our homogenization approach allows us to create concise and intuitive descriptions of a material's direction-dependent macromechanical behavior that are easy to communicate even to non-experts. We perform this characterization for an extensive set of structures and organize these data in a material browser to enable efficient forward exploration of the aesthetic-mechanical space of structured sheet materials. We also propose an inverse design method to automatically find structure parameters that best approximate a user-specified target behavior.
Schumacher, C., Marschner, S., Gross, M., & Thomaszewski, B. (2018). Mechanical characterization of structured sheet materials. ACM Transactions on Graphics, 37(4). https://doi.org/10.1145/3197517.3201278