Structures typically have fixed mechanical properties after fabrication necessitating a compromise in performance over a wide range of operating conditions. On-demand adaptation of multi-physics performance in structural systems can increase efficiency and decrease weight and energy consumption of aerospace systems operating in changing or unknown environments. This approach targets applications ranging from morphing wings to smart spacecraft instruments to soft robots. This talk will explore programmable systems leveraging composites through three topics: highly multi-stable structures for robotic locomotion, lattices with re-programmable stiffness through reversible lamination, and compliant mechanisms for electromagnetic performance reconfiguration in satellite communications and remote sensing. This talk will highlight the multi-scale design of these systems, the role of anisotropy of composite materials, and bringing together the sensing, actuation, and adaptation functionalities in adaptive systems.
About the speaker: Maria Sakovsky is an Assistant Professor in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at Stanford University. Her work studies space structures with reconfigurable geometry, stiffness, and even non-mechanical performance to enable aerospace systems to respond to unknown environments. She received her BSc in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto and MSc and PhD in Space Engineering at Caltech, where she developed a deployable satellite antenna based on composite material origami. She concurrently worked with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on developing cryogenically rated thin-ply composite antennas for deep space missions. After her PhD, she was awarded the ETH Zürich postdoctoral fellowship to investigate reconfigurable antennas based on mechanical metamaterials.