Researchers at TU Delft have developed a new material without doing any experimental tests at all. The supercompressible but strong material was designed by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) only. ‘AI gives you a treasure map and the scientist needs to find the treasure’, says Miguel Bessa, first author of the publication on this subject in Advanced Materials.
Miguel Bessa, Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at TU Delft, got the inspiration for this research project during his time at the California Institute of Technology. At a corner of the Space Structures Lab he noticed a satellite structure that could open long solar sails from a very small package.
Then he wondered if it would be possible to design a highly compressible yet strong material that could be compressed into a small fraction of its volume. ‘If this was possible, everyday objects such as bicycles, dinner tables and umbrellas could be folded into your pocket’.
Inverting the design process
The next generation of materials needs to be adaptive, multi-purpose and tunable. This can be achieved by structure-dominated materials (metamaterials) that explore new geometries to achieve unprecedented properties and functionality. ‘However, metamaterial design has relied on extensive experimentation and a trial-and-error approach’, Bessa continues. ‘We argue in favor of inverting the process by using machine learning for exploring new design possibilities, while reducing experimentation to an absolute minimum.’
Source: “TU Delft researchers design new material by using Artificial Intelligence only”, Delft University of Technology