Ben Rogers

Neural Network Optimisation of Auxetics

Project Summary

My project aims to combine use of pattern recognition to structural mechanisms to extract design patterns that provide certain key properties to ordered meta-materials. This can then be used to achieve bespoke material properties for designers and allow the full exploitation of auxetic structures in strain-in strain-out design. 

These auxetic structures are distinct through having a negative Poisson’s ratio, a counter-intuitive property that causes them to expand laterally when stretched and vice-versa. This affords the materials unusually high resistance to shear deformations and indentation, and increased specific energy absorption in impacts as well as opening a wide range of design possibilities. 

The project has been built off my master’s thesis and hopes to lead towards a viable tool for the design of bespoke metamaterials. 

AI can be implemented into this process to improve the specific properties of the structures by recognising design patterns that afford stiffness, density, Poisson’s ratio changes and levels of isotropy and allow for the development of bespoke structures with wide applications in sports, vehicular and medical engineering. 

This runs into ethical dilemmas regarding how you can trust an algorithm to come up with accountable structural designs with minimal human involvement and how to hold it to account, with structures potentially being used in safety-critical roles yet requiring the most efficient design process possible to make best utilisation of the opportunities the approach affords. 

Research Interests

Alongside my background in additive manufacturing, focusing on residual stress and microstructure analysis of metal AM parts, within engineering I have interests in metamaterial design and continuum mechanics. This has led me to applied mathematics and artificial intelligence as the route to achieve better utilisation of design spaces and explore how humans interact with these algorithms to generate useable structures and designs. 

Background

My undergraduate study was in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Bath, my master’s thesis was on the design and optimisation of ordered 3D near-isotropic auxetic structures. 

I have a year’s placement experience in research and technology for Additive Manufacturing with GKN Aerospace focusing on residual stress modelling and microstructure analysis of metal AM parts. I  have undertaken a further research internship at the university in modelling ice as a material in the LS-Dyna finite element engine. 

In 2021 I was the winner of the ImechE Project Award.

Supervisors

Dr Alexander Lunt

Dr Elise Pegg

Dr Neill Campbell

Dr Vimal Dhokia