Performance indices for materials describe the mechanical efficiency of a component under a given mode of loading: the higher the performance index, the lower the mass of the component for a given mechanical requirement. Material selection charts offer a graphical means of comparing performance indices for a wide range of materials. The performance indices are first described. Micromechanical models for the behaviour of cellular materials are then used to suggest novel microstructural designs for cellular materials with improved performance. Model materials with two of the microstructures, honeycomb beams and plates, have been fabricated and tested. The results of the tests indicate that the new microstructures have higher values of some performance indices than those of the solids from which they are made.
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