Active Projects

The Mechanics of Cutting and Piercing

All animals, including humans, have evolved with the ability to cut and pierce through tissue to feed and defend. Teeth, claws, nails, quills, etc. are geometrically designed by nature to achieve sufficient sharpness based on the mechanical properties of the materials involved. But how do we determine ‘sufficient sharpness’? There are important scaling considerations which, require accurate mechanical modeling to respond to this question.

To completely understand the mechanics of cutting and piercing, scientists need to better understand fracture nucleation and propagation in nonlinear material, under severe contact loading.

This project is funded by the Human Frontiers in Science Program, involves several members of the Micro & Nano Mechanics Group, and is carried in collaboration with Dr. David Labonte (Imperial College, London) and Dr. Nathalie Holt (University of California, Riverside).

The Energetics of Cytoskeletal Mechanics

This research proposes to bridge some of the most important biochemical activities within the cytosol of a cell and its mechanical response at the macroscopic level. It is funded by the New Frontiers in Research Funds-Exploration and is carried in collaboration with the Soft Matter Group, let by Dr. Gwynn Elfring.

Bio-inspired dry adhesion: the quest for optimal design of sticky devices inspired by nature

The goal of this project is to develop computational tools capable of evaluating the adhesive performance of nature-inspired sticky devices and formulate robust design principles. The feasibility of recreating the reversible adhesive properties of gecko toe pads with synthetic materials has been proven. The possibility of bringing this emerging technology to the real world, through engineering applications that can impact our everyday life, is contingent with the possibility of improving the design of these materials.