The microscopic structure of a material largely determines how effectively it can absorb impacts. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA) have identified a structure that solves this problem especially well. They have 3D printed cubes with fractal voids that can be useful in the creation of helmets, armor and other protective equipment.
In the structure of shock-resistant materials, as a rule, there are voids that contribute to the scattering of shock waves. Scientists are constantly experimenting to find the optimal shape for these voids. Among them are nanofoam, herringbone, honeycomb, microbubbles and many others.
Cubes with internal fractal voids of various configurations and sizes have become the object of a new study by scientists at the Los Alamos Laboratory. The researchers examined how well each structure withstands the mechanical impact of impact elements flying at a speed of 1080 km / h.
In the course of experiments, it was found that the more complex the internal structure of the cube, the better it scatters shock waves. Some cubes with fractal voids turned out to be five times stronger than their “solid” counterparts from the same material.
Scientists acknowledge that the designs they investigated are not necessarily the most effective. Therefore, they are now studying other models obtained using algorithmic optimization methods.