Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich have produced a material prototype that damps vibrations completely and specifically conducts certain frequencies.

The working model consists of a one-meter by one-centimeter aluminum plate that is one millimeter thick. The sheet-metal strip vibrates at different frequencies. In order to control the wave propagation, ten small aluminum cylinders (7 mm thick, 1 cm high) are attached to the metal. Between the sheet and the cylinders sit piezo discs, which can be stimulated electronically and change their thickness quickly. The model enables the researchers to control how waves are allowed to propagate in the sheet-metal strip.

Such a “metamaterial” could fundamentally revolutionize mechanical engineering and plant construction. In the future, the material could react to current vibration readings and adapt its vibration properties at lightning speed.


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