What is it about?

Different from most existing multistable structures whose multiple stable states are achieved through the combinational effect of bistable units, we invent a generic tristable kirigami cuboid. The three stable states have fundamentally distinct geometric configurations and chirality, and the transformation among them can be realized by tension/compression or clockwise/counter-clockwise twist. Tessellating the units in series, a family of multistable metamaterials can be constructed, the mechanical behaviours of which are programmable by the unit geometry, the material of the elastic joints, the number of units, and the loading conditions. As a demonstration of the potential applications, a frequency reconfigurable antenna for 5G triple-band communication is developed based on a tristable unit, and the frequency tunability is verified by experiments.

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Why is it important?

Multistability plays an important role in advanced engineering applications such as metastructures, deployable structures, and reconfigurable robotics. However, most existing multistability design is based on the 2D/3D series or parallel combinations of bistable unit cells, which are derived from snap-through instability, non-rigid foldable origami structures, and compliant mechanism, due to the lack of generic multistable unit cell.


This work paves a new way to design multistable metastructures, which facilitates the development of functional materials and devices.

Yan Chen
Tianjin University

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This page is a summary of: Kirigami-based metastructures with programmable multistability, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2117649119.
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