MIT researchers have developed a lightweight structure whose tiny blocks can be snapped together much like the bricks of a child’s construction toy. The new material, the researchers say, could revolutionize the assembly of airplanes, spacecraft, and even larger structures, such as dikes and levees. — MIT News Office
Finding 3D printed materials unsuitable for structural applications, this group of researchers has been investigating new ways of building "big things out of small pieces". The configurations proposed are claimed to be much less susceptible to sudden failure, providing redundancy and predictable, incremental yields for easier repairs. The researchers have also been examining different configurations that would allow new geometries including joints that aren't fixed, opening a host of new possibilities in engineering reactive or robotic structures.