Imperial College London

Dr Rob Hewson

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Aeronautics

Reader in Aircraft Design







341City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus




Multiscale Metamaterials

The structural, thermal and vibration meta-material is led jointly by Dr Rob Hewson and Dr Matthew Santer from the Department of Aeronautics. It exploits new manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing, to develop micro-architectured structures which are optimised for structural, thermal and/or vibration performance.

 Structural MetaMaterials

Work in the group has led to new multiscale structural optimisation methods being developed for lattices, leading to significant lightweighting when compared to conventional topology optimisation. This is shown below,

Lightweighting Example

SIMP3: Conventional topology optimisation, LB: Lattice based optimisation, SIMP1: Unpenalised topology optimisation with unrealistic intermediate material densities

and was published here (Multiscale structural optimization towards three-dimensional printable structures).

The approach has also be used  to produce materials which can deform when loaded in a prescribed path as presented at the AIAA SciTech forum in 2019, and illustrated below (and with the non-trivial individual member size distribution here).

Prescribed Displacement

Thermal and Vibration Response MetaMaterials

Optimised lattice (and small scale structures) have been undertaken for thermal and vibration response. Allowing a fully tuned material to be developed, allowing thermal paths through a material to be tuned and a bulk material's natural frequency to be tuned to avoid certain excitation frequencies.

Flow Control Applications

The lattice group works closely with a number of colleagues, such as Dr Paul Bruce on using meta-materials for flow control applications. Delivering complex shape morphing for aerodynamic applications.