In mechanics, large deformations can occur at both the material and structural scales. In the past, structural engineering has eschewed large deformations, implicating them as the cause of several disastrous failures of rigid structures. However, attention is now turning to how to take advantage of large deformations.

Therefore, we  investigate 2D interlaced networks of elastic rods and deliberately drive them into the large deformation realm to create novel 3D elastic (and thus reversible) structures with interesting mechanical properties. The core concept is that, under compression, the interlaced continuous rods will bend, twist, and slide with respect to each other, forcing the 2D network into three dimensions in order to minimize the network’s strain energy.

The theories and insights found in this project have applications for structures and materials with reversible functionalities (such as emergency bending-active shelters and adaptive medical prosthetics like heart stents), the construction solutions have applications in the textile industry.