Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering - (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Camelia Prodan

Second Advisor

John Francis Federici

Third Advisor

Ken Keunhyuk Ahn

Fourth Advisor

Benjamin P. Thomas

Fifth Advisor

Michael Siegel


The study of topological mechanical metamaterials is a new emerging field that focuses on the topological properties of artificial mechanical structures. Inspired by topological insulators, topological mechanism has attracted intensive attention in condensed matter physics and successfully connected the quantum mechanical descriptions of electrons with the classical descriptions of phonons. It has led to experiments of mechanical metamaterials possessing topological characteristics, such as topologically protected conducting edges or surfaces without back-scattering. This dissertation presents a new experimental approach for mechanically engineering topological metamaterials based on patterning magnetically coupled spinners in order to localize the propagation of vibrations and evaluate different resonant modes. The topological properties of these metamaterials originate simply from their structures regardless of their nature and require no fine tuning of parameters. Strong excitation modes can also be observed through naked eyes, ideal for the exemplification of abstract theories. In Chapter 2, robust edge modes only due to smart patterning are reported. In Chapter 3, the analog of quantum valley Hall effect (QVHE) is emulated mechanically and its suitability for metamaterial applications is also discussed. In Chapter 4, flat frequency bands localized at open edges and antiphase boundary seams of topological mechanical metamaterials are shown to be promising for other metamaterials and novel applications. In Chapter 5, current work on classical Majorana edge modes of a ladder-like system, which is a counterpart to the classic Kitaev chain, is presented. Finally, in Chapter 6, contributions, possible improvements, significant challenges, and potential applications are discussed.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.