The Metamaterials Unit (MTMU) of the University of Malta was set up in 2011 under the auspices of the Faculty of Science with the aim of expanding the University of Malta’s research efforts and teaching in the area of metamaterials, with particular emphasis on materials which exhibit negative Poisson’s ratio, negative thermal expansion and/or negative compressibility as well on materials modelling both from a molecular and micro/macro level point of view.
The Metamaterials Unit currently engages three full-time academics and offers full-time and part-time postgraduate degrees by research at M.Sc. and Ph.D. level. It is also involved in a number of externally funded projects.
Current areas of research of the academic members of staff include:
Negative Materials: These are materials exhibiting negative properties such as negative Poisson's ratios (auxetic), negative thermal expansion and negative compressibility (negative bulk modulus). These novel materials have a wide range of applications ranging from superior cushions which offer enhanced protection to materials which can annul the problems that are created when conventional materials expand when heated.
Materials Modelling: An area of Materials Science which is increasingly attracting more attention is that of Computational Materials Science. Here materials and nano/micro structures are studied using appropriate simulation tools such as molecular modelling techniques (Molecular or Quantum Mechanics, Molecular Dynamics, Monte Carlo Simulations), Finite Element analysis, etc. This work is essential not only because it predicts how materials behave in practical situations at a relatively low cost, but also because it provides the essential insight to help us understand how materials operate.