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Shape optimization in elastic sheets

Gareth W. Jones (NUS)
Mon, 27/01/2014 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
T-Lab Level 5 Seminar Room
Lim Chwee Teck
Event Type: 
Other Seminars

Organized by the Singapore Molecular Biology Institute (MBI)

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Elastic plate theory can be used to model many important and interesting systems, from atomically-thin graphene, to soft gel sheets and two-dimensional biological membranes such as epithelia. The ability of these materials to bend out of plane in response to internal and external forces has led them to be used in a wide variety of applications, including MEMS devices such as piezoelectric actuators. In particular, the ability of hydrogels to change thermal and chemical energy into motion has led to their use in biocompatible devices like valves and programmable actuators. However, the nonlinear nature of the governing equations hinders the shape optimization of these structures for their desired purpose.

In this talk I present a computational method that can be used to find the deformation or mechanical properties of an elastic plate that optimizes their efficacy in applications. Two examples are provided, namely the optimization of the shape of a microscopic graphene pressure switch, and the swelling of a thin gel sheet causing it to adopt a desired shape with useful mechanical properties.

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