Robust Bicontinuous Elastomer–Metal Foam Composites with Highly Tunable Stiffness

Siavash Sharifi, Amir Mohammadi Nasab, Pei En Chen, Yiliang Liao, Yang Jiao, Wanliang Shan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Herein, a new class of robust bicontinuous elastomer–metal foam composites with highly tunable mechanical stiffness is proposed, fabricated, characterized, and demonstrated. The smart composite is a bicontinuous network of two foams, one metallic made of a low melting point alloy (LMPA) and the other elastomeric made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The stiffness of the composite can be tuned by inducing phase changes in its LMPA component. Below the melting point of the LMPA, Young's modulus of the smart composites is ≈1 GPa, whereas above the melting point of the LMPA it is ≈1 MPa. Thus, a sharp stiffness change of ≈1000× can be realized through the proposed bicontinuous foam composite structure, which is higher than all available robust smart composites. Effective medium theory is also used to predict the Young's modulus of the bicontinuous smart composites, which generates reasonable agreement with experimentally measured Young's modulus of the smart composites. Finally, the use of these smart materials as a smart joint in a robotic arm is also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2101533
JournalAdvanced Engineering Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • LMPA foam
  • elastomer
  • smart materials
  • soft robotics
  • tunable stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Robust Bicontinuous Elastomer–Metal Foam Composites with Highly Tunable Stiffness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this