This paper introduces thermally actuated hierarchical metamaterials with large linear and rotational motion and high structural stiffness. Their working principle relies on the definition of a triangular bi-material unit that uses temperature changes to locally generate in its internal members distinct rates of expansion that translate into anisotropic motions at the unit level, and large deployment at the global scale. Obtained from solid mechanics theory, thermal experiments on fabricated proof-of-concepts and numerical analysis, the results show that introducing recursive patterns of just two orders of hierarchy is highly effective in amplifying linear and rotational actuation at levels beyond those typically offered by soft actuators.

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