Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar
The goal of Professor Hopkins' Flexible Research Group at UCLA is to enable the design and fabrication of advanced compliant systems that achieve extraordinary capabilities via the deformation of their constituent flexible elements. The benefits inherent to such systems (e.g., highly repeatable, versatile kinematics, scalable, human-safe, low-cost, easy to maintain, adaptable, lightweight, and able to store strain energy or accommodate imperfections) are essential to a variety of high-impact fields. Such fields include mechanical metamaterials, micro/nano-technologies, precision engineering, soft robotics, medical devices, nature-inspired systems, and origami. Despite the importance of compliant systems, designing them can be overly burdensome due to the complex nonlinear mechanics that govern their large deformation behavior. Moreover, compliant systems can be difficult or impossible to fabricate if their geometry is complex and/or their constituent materials are required to possess properties that are favorable for repeatable or large strains. Thus, this seminar will present the progress that the Flexible Research Group has made toward overcoming these obstacles for enabling the creation of new and disruptive compliant technologies that benefit society. Examples that will be discussed include high-performance micro-mirror array MEMS devices and advanced metamaterials that achieve naturally unobtainable combinations of mechanical properties.