Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar
Thin elastic plates and shells subjected to compressive stress can undergo a wide variety of geometry-dependent mechanical shape instabilities. Our group seeks to take advantage of these phenomena, in combination with new approaches in materials chemistry to develop systems with tailored and reconfigurable 3D shapes and properties. In particular, we have studied the use of photo-crosslinkable polymer films to prepare polymer sheets and multilayers containing stimuli-responsive hydrogel elements. This approach provides access to both smoothly curved plates with programmed Gaussian curvature, and sharply folded films suitable for reversibly self-folding micro-scale origami. The folding of curved surfaces is largely unexplored, but our initial investigations have revealed simple geometric principles for designing bistable structures connected by rapid snap-buckling transitions.