Though beam-based lattices have dominated mechanical metamaterials for the past two decades, low structural efficiency limits their performance to fractions of the Hashin-Shtrikman and Suquet upper bounds, i.e. the theoretical stiffness and strength limits of any isotropic cellular topology, respectively. While plate-based designs are predicted to reach the upper bounds, experimental verification has remained elusive due to significant manufacturing challenges. Here, we present a new class of nanolattices, constructed from closed-cell plate-architectures. Carbon plate-nanolattices are fabricated via two-photon lithography and pyrolysis and shown to reach the Hashin-Shtrikman and Suquet upper bounds, via in situ mechanical compression, nano-computed tomography and micro-Raman spectroscopy. Demonstrating specific strengths surpassing those of bulk diamond and average performance improvements up to 639% over the best beam-nanolattices, this study provides detailed experimental evidence of plate architectures as a superior mechanical metamaterial topology.
See an exciting Seeker video on this work: https://youtu.be/0KJjs4W09hQ