Negative Stiffness Honeycomb Material

Physical Sciences : Mechanical

Available for licensing


  • Carolyn Seepersad, Ph.D. , Mechanical Engineering
  • Michael Haberman, Ph.D. , University of Texas at Austin
  • Timothy Klatt , University of Texas at Austin
  • Dixon Correa , University of Texas at Austin
  • Summer Gunnels , University of Texas at Austin

Background/unmet need

Honeycomb materials have been frequently utilized for their ability to provide great strength while minimizing the amount of material used. In traditional honeycomb materials, once the full compression of the material has been reached, it is essentially crushed and not able to fully regain its shape and force absorption capabilities. Negative stiffness honeycombs, however, provide the shock isolation and energy absorption capabilities of traditional honeycombs, but they do not deform permanently. They can bounce back to their original form in preparation for the next impact. 

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed negative stiffness honeycomb structures that consist of periodically repeating cell structures that embed curved beams. These curved beams act as snap-through elements that snap from one bi-stable shape to another under applied mechanical loading. This novel design allows for a full compression of the material with the ability to regain the exact structure as before and perform again and again.


  • Recoverable energy absorption in a very lightweight material
  • Many different materials can be used to form the design
  • Highly tailorable
  • Economically advantageous


  • Topology characterized by periodically repeating cell structures
  • Configured to allow snap-through behavior and energy absorption
  • Absorbs same amount of energy as traditional honeycombs, but by recoverable means
  • Provide nearly ideal shock isolation

Market potential/applications

Lucintel reports that the global honeycomb core materials market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9% into 2021. Markets and Markets Research also reports that global core materials market (regarding foam, honeycomb, and balsa materials) will reach $1.72 billion by 2021. Defense contractors could be interested in proposed honeycomb materials for personal protection, impact absorption, or blast protection. Vehicle and sporting goods manufacturers could also benefit from implementing negative stiffness honeycombs for the purpose of improving shock isolation and user protection.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status