Machine learning generative models for automatic design of multi-material 3D printed composite solids

Tianju Xue, Thomas J. Wallin, Yigit Menguc, Sigrid Adriaenssens, Maurizio Chiaramonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Mechanical metamaterials are artificial structures that exhibit unusual mechanical properties at the macroscopic level due to architected geometric design at the microscopic level. With rapid advancement of multi-material 3D printing techniques, it is possible to design mechanical metamaterials by varying spatial distributions of different base materials within a representative volume element (RVE), which is then periodically arranged into a lattice structure. The design problem is challenging, however, considering the wide design space of potentially infinitely many configurations of multi-material RVEs. We propose an optimization framework that automates the design flow. We adopt variational autoencoder (VAE), a machine learning generative model to learn a latent, reduced representation of a given RVE configuration. The reduced design space allows to perform Bayesian optimization (BayesOpt), a sequential optimization strategy, for the multi-material design problems. In this work, we select two base materials with distinct elastic moduli and use the proposed optimization scheme to design a composite solid that achieves a prescribed set of macroscopic elastic moduli. We fabricated optimal samples with multi-material 3D printing and performed experimental validation, showing that the optimization framework is reliable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100992
JournalExtreme Mechanics Letters
StatePublished - Nov 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • 3D printing
  • Machine learning
  • Mechanical metamaterial


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