This research introduced a method of post-tensioning structures that are made through granular jamming: a physical phenomenon that occurs when an increase in local density causes randomly organized aggregates to undergo a reversible phase transition from a liquid-like to a solid-like state. This post-tensioning method enables the creation of “superjammed” structures, which are able to achieve spans, morph into different shapes, receive heavy loads, and still revert back to a liquid-like state.

Self-Assembly Lab, MIT: Zach Cohen (Research Lead), Nathaniel Elberfeld, Andrew Moorman, Schendy Kernizan, Jared Laucks, and Skylar Tibbits

Boston University Team: Xin Jiang, Arman Guerra, Yi Yang, Kate Flanagan, Casey Ricks, and Douglas Holmes