3D printed hierarchical honeycombs with shape integrity under large compressive deformations

Yanyu Chen*, Tiantian Li, Zian Jia, Fabrizio Scarpa, Chun Wei Yao, Lifeng Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)
424 Downloads (Pure)


We describe the in-plane compressive performance of a new type of hierarchical cellular structure created by replacing cell walls in regular honeycombs with triangular lattice configurations. The fabrication of this relatively complex material architecture with size features spanning from micrometer to centimeter is facilitated by the availability of commercial 3D printers. We apply to these hierarchical honeycombs a thermal treatment that facilitates the shape preservation and structural integrity of the structures under large compressive loading. The proposed hierarchical honeycombs exhibit a progressive failure mode, along with improved stiffness and energy absorption under uniaxial compression. High energy dissipation and shape integrity at large imposed strains (up to 60%) have also been observed in these hierarchical honeycombs under cyclic loading. Experimental and numerical studies suggest that these anomalous mechanical behaviors are attributed to the introduction of a structural hierarchy, intrinsically controlled by the cell wall slenderness of the triangular lattice and by the shape memory effect induced by the thermal and mechanical compressive treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials and Design
Early online date12 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2018


  • Hierarchical honeycombs
  • Stiffness
  • Energy absorption
  • Energy dissipation
  • Structural integrity


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