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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cellular Solids: Structure, Properties and Applications

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via MIT OpenCourseWare


This course reviews the processing and structure of cellular materials as they are created from polymers, metals, ceramics, glasses, and composites, develops models for the mechanical behavior of cellular solids, and shows how the unique properties of honeycombs and foams are exploited in applications such as lightweight structural panels, energy absorption devices and thermal insulation. The applications of cellular solids in medicine include increased fracture risk due to trabecular bone loss in patients with osteoporosis, the development of metal foam coatings for orthopaedic implants, and designing porous scaffolds for tissue engineering that mimic the extracellular matrix. Modelling of cellular materials applied to natural materials and biomimicking is explored. Students taking the graduate version of the class are required to complete additional assignments.


1. Introduction and Overview (MIT 3.054 Cellular Solids: Structure, Properties, Applications, S15).
2. Processing of Cellular Solids.
3. Structure of Cellular Solids.
4. Honeycombs: In-plane Behavior.
5. Honeycombs: Out-of-plane Behavior.
6. Natural Honeycombs: Wood.
7. Natural Honeycombs: Cork; Foams: Linear Elasticity.
8. Foams: Non-linear Elasticity.
9. Foams: Thermal Properties.
10. Exam Review.
11. Trabecular Bone and Osteoporosis.
12. Trabecular Bone, Osteoporosis, and Evolution.
13. Tissue Engineering Scaffolds: Processing and Properties.
14. Tissue Engineering: Osteochondral Scaffold; How To Write a Paper.
15. Cell-scaffold Interactions; Energy Absorption.
16. Applications: Energy Absorption in Foams.
17. Sandwich Panels.
18. Natural Sandwich Structures; Density Gradients.
19. Biomimicking.
Faculty Introduction and Background.
Student Project Examples.
Project Logistics and Support.
Lecture Preparation.
Role of Images.
Unique Aspects of the Course.

Taught by

Lorna Gibson


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