mechanical metamaterial metacore render with abstract colorful background

Absorb energy from any direction

Our flagship light-weight structural material is engineered with the properties of an ideal impact absorber and can be customized with application-specific crush strength. MetaCORE is produced in flat sheets, blocks, sandwich panels, or can be pre-formed to a smooth curved surface.

MetaCORE’s anisotropic geometry is engineered for a pro-isotropic force-displacement relationship with a high Crush Force Efficiency (CFE) and Specific Energy Absorption (SEA). The CFE ensures safety at the moment of impact, and the SEA ensures safety throughout the duration of a collision event.


MetaCORE™ datasheet
4 pages (1 MB)
Technical datasheet for MetaCORE.
Projectile Motion: Achieving Long Distance Aerial Delivery
22 pages (5 MB)
White paper comparing today’s airdrop impact-mitigating solution, cardboard honeycomb, to Multiscale Systems’ superior energy absorber, MetaCORE. Read the Executive Summary and watch the Summary Video.
MetaCORE Mechanical Metamaterial Technology
1 page (572 KB)
Quadchart covering MetaCORE technology for defense applications.
Mechanical Metamaterials
6 MB
Thorough introduction to mechanical metamaterials, with detailed technical information about MetaCORE and MetaCORE-LD.

MetaCORE characteristics and advantages

Base MetaCORE offers a number of advantages out of the box and can be customized with additional characteristics as required.

Characteristic Advantage
High Crush Force Efficiency Mitigates sudden deceleration
High Specific Energy Absorption Lightweight protection
Pro-Isotropy Multi-directional performance
Low Mass Density (Lightweight) Total system weight reduction
Corrosion Resistance Increased durability
Cost Savings Widely available raw materials
Custom Characteristic On-demand customization
Customer-Preferred Manufacturing Methods Easy system integration

Use our interactive Metamaterial Selector app to determine the best solution for your unique parameters.

Try the Metamaterial Selector

Multi-objective optimization

Geometric motifs

Multi-objective optimization rarely produces a single solution. Instead, multiple different solutions with the desired input characteristics can be generated by our process. We embrace the multiplicity especially since some designs excel in unexpected ways.

The MetaCORE product line was conceived as a lightweight impact-absorbing structural material. The geometric motifs shown in the figures below all satisfy these criteria, but in slightly different ways. More importantly, variations in each motif’s geometry (angles, lengths, thicknesses, etc.) allow us to access a different range of material properties.

Having a catalog of motifs means our customers tell us what they want, and we have a shorter lead time to deliver.


EB cell and tessellation

MetaCORE [EB] motif as single unit cell and tessellation (right)


MO cell and tessellation

MetaCORE [MO] motif as single unit cell and tessellation (right)


WB cell and tessellation

MetaCORE [WB] motif as single unit cell and tessellation (right)

MetaCORE competitive advantages

Reduce weight without the trade-offs: Stiffness vs Density

Stiffness, measured by the Young’s modulus E, expresses how much a material will deform in response to an applied load. We all intuitively recognize that stiffer materials are generally heavier, and compliant materials are generally lighter. As a result, we’re surprised when we find light materials that are very stiff (composites and technical ceramics) or delighted when we find heavy materials that are very soft (memory foam). This intuition is quantified when we plot the density of a material, ρ, against its Young’s modulus and observe a generally upward-leaning trend.

MetaCORE advantage
The highly engineered geometry of MetaCORE has most of its internal volume empty, leading to extremely low densities. The same geometry converts applied external loads to hidden internal deformations giving it a much higher effective stiffness. As a result, MetaCORE exists on the boundaries of what’s possible, far exceeding the performance of conventional alternatives.

Better protection from impacts: Specific Energy Absorption min. vs. max.

A material’s Specific Energy Absorption (SEA) tells you how much energy can be absorbed by crushing a given amount of the material. Often, materials reporting high values of SEA only absorb in one direction, while the other two directions offer little-to-no functionality. Plotting a material’s maximum SEA vs. its minimum SEA reveals the problem.

MetaCORE advantage
Honeycomb and foams are commonly used as lightweight energy absorbing materials. Plotting the minimum vs. maximum SEA reveals the strength of MetaCORE over these alternatives. By design, MetaCORE exists as a high performing energy absorber regardless of the impact’s direction.

graph showing SEA min. vs. SEA max. of MetaCORE, honeycomb, and foams

Figure: SEA min. vs. SEA max. of MetaCORE, honeycomb, and foams

Multi-Objective optimization: Crush Force Efficiency vs. Specific Energy Absorption

Before there were seatbelts in every car, researchers identified useful metrics for engineering vehicle safety systems. One metric, the Crush Force Efficiency (CFE), is particularly good for quantifying the transfer of force from a collision to a vehicle occupant. While CFE is useful, it doesn’t tell you how much energy is ultimately absorbed by the material mitigating impact. This is where the Specific Energy Absorption (SEA) comes in. Some materials, like foams, have a great CFE but absorb very little energy. Other materials like honeycomb have great SEA but allow for undesirable propagation of harmful de-acceleration forces. Plotting CFE versus SEA gives a good high-level perspective on these two critical – and distinct – aspects of crashworthiness.

MetaCORE advantage
MetaCORE is specifically engineered with the force-displacement relationship of an ideal energy absorber, giving it extremely high CFE values. Our aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced versions of MetaCORE take these high CFEs and build out exceptional SEA, making the functional combination uniquely high-performance.

graph showing CFE vs. SEA max. of metaCORE and honeycomb

Figure: CFE vs. SEA max. of MetaCORE motifs and honeycomb. Note that large values for honeycomb are only valid in one direction and impacts from any other direction are not effectively mitigated.

Selected characteristics of MetaCORE compared to honeycomb and foams

Material CFE SEA Pro-Isotropic
Low High Low High Low High
Foams X X X
Honeycomb X X X

Simplified material choice: Specific Stiffness Min. vs. Max.

By dividing the Young’s modulus by the material’s density, you derive its specific stiffness (sometimes referred to as “specific modulus” or “stiffness-to-weight ratio”). High specific modulus materials are widely applicable in aerospace applications where low-weight high-stiffness materials are desired since they resist deformation. Consider choosing a material for building an airplane. Aluminum seems obvious because it’s less dense than steel, but steel is stronger than aluminum, so maybe we should use a thinner steel plate to save weight without sacrificing tensile strength. However, even if we find the right weight-to-tensile-strength ratios, we end up sacrificing stiffness, which ultimately allows the wings to flex too much during flight. These trade-offs are all too common when selecting engineering materials.

MetaCORE advantage
Materials advertising a high specific stiffness like honeycomb are only functional in one direction and exhibit low specific stiffness in the other two directions. Directional independence can be achieved with MetaCORE where the minimum and maximum values of specific stiffness are comparable, benefitting customers by simplifying material selection.

Applicable markets

a semi-trailer truck on an empty highway


Transportation of goods and products is essential for our quality of life. Lighter, stronger materials let carriers haul more cargo per load, lower operating costs, and increase trailer lifetime. Exceptional cellular volume fraction provides superior thermal insulation for temperature sensitive cargo.


  • Panel lightweighting
  • Structural integrity
  • Better temperature control
us army armored vehicle with air drops in background


Providing lightweight, impact protection for aerial delivery (such as JPADs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), armored vehicles, and soldiers.


  • JPADS/aerial drop systems
  • UAVs
  • Armored vehicles
  • Soldier protective equipment
an electric vehicle that's plugged in getting charged

Electric Vehicles

Energy is required to accelerate mass. For EVs, this immutable physical law means lighter vehicles can travel greater distances. Light materials with exceptional crashworthiness are key as we move to zero-emission vehicles.


  • Crash protection for batteries
  • Crash protection for unconventional occupant seating arrangements
NASA building


Commercial space flight is now possible. Whether used for low-altitude Urban Air Mobility Vehicles (UAMVs), or in-orbit flight, advanced materials are essential to sustain, expand, and grow this industry.


  • Urban Air Mobility Vehicles (UAMVs)