Topological interlocking of platonic solids: A way to new materials and structures

A. V. Dyskin, Y. Estrin, A. J. Kanel-Belov, E. Pasternak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The structural integrity of natural and engineered materials relies on chemical or mechanical bonding between the building blocks of which they consist. Materials whose building blocks are not joined, but rather interlocked topologically, possess remarkable mechanical and functional properties. We show that identical elements, in the shape of the five platonic solids, can be arranged into layer-like structures in which they are interlocked topologically. It is shown that truncated icosahedra (buckyballs) can also be arranged in a layer with topological interlocking. The geometrical possibility of such assemblies opens up interesting avenues in the design of structures and materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalPhilosophical Magazine Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Support from the Australian Research Council through a Discovery Grant is acknowledged. Y. E. and A. K.-B. acknowledge financial support from the University of Western Australia through the Department of Civil and Resource Engineering (Y. E.) and a Gledden Fellowship (A. K.-B.). The authors are grateful to B. H. G. Brady, J. Dell, M. Fahey, L. Faraone, E. A. Katz and M. F. Randolph for stimulating discussions.


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