Auxetics are materials
Chemical substance
In chemistry, a chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. It cannot be separated into components by physical separation methods, i.e. without breaking chemical bonds. They can be solids, liquids or gases.Chemical substances are...

 that have a negative Poisson's ratio
Poisson's ratio
Poisson's ratio , named after Siméon Poisson, is the ratio, when a sample object is stretched, of the contraction or transverse strain , to the extension or axial strain ....

. When stretched, they become thicker perpendicular to the applied force. This occurs due to their hinge-like structures, which flex when stretched. Auxetic materials can be single molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

s or a particular structure of macroscopic matter.
Such materials are expected to have mechanical properties such as high energy absorption
Shock absorber
A shock absorber is a mechanical device designed to smooth out or damp shock impulse, and dissipate kinetic energy. It is a type of dashpot.-Nomenclature:...

 and fracture
A fracture is the separation of an object or material into two, or more, pieces under the action of stress.The word fracture is often applied to bones of living creatures , or to crystals or crystalline materials, such as gemstones or metal...

 resistance. Auxetics may be useful in applications such as body armor, packing material, knee and elbow pads, robust shock absorbing material, and sponge mops.

Auxetics can be illustrated with an inelastic string wound around an elastic cord.