Research

 

1. Mechanics and Design of Reconfigurable Mechanical Metamaterials
Metamaterials are becoming the emerging frontier in scientific research and engineering innovation due to their unprecedented physical properties, arising from the geometrical arrangements of their unit cells. Metamaterials can be reconfigured beyond their original design through mechanical deformation or other actuation. Recently, origami and kirigami-based metamaterials have attracted increasing interest by harnessing folds and cuts, which has great potential in design of flexible electronics, color displays, smart windows, actuators, sensors, and photonic/phononic devices.

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2. Mechanics and Design of Soft Robotics
Soft robotics has recently attracted growing research interest due to its active and safe interaction with the environment and humans. Unlike conventional rigid robots constructed from rigid links, the body of soft robots is mainly composed of extremely soft materials, similar to the soft-bodied animals in nature, which can undergo large deformation under external actuation including pneumatic or hydraulic pressure, temperature, light, and electrical or magnetic field. Our group’s recent research focuses on mechanics guided design of modular actuators for integrating in multifunctional soft robotics including grippers and high-efficiency locomotion including climbing, swimming, and jumping.

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3. Mechanics and Functionality of Extreme Buckling-driven Delamination
Despite extensive studies on wrinkling of soft materials, there are limited studies on mechanics and functionality of spontaneous extreme buckling driven periodic delamination. Compared to wrinkling, one of the great advantages of extremely buckling driven delamination is their extraordinary high aspect ratio of buckles. The large surface roughness and high local curvature at both peak and valleys of extremely delaminated buckles could potentially enable extreme surface topographies related properties such as adhesion, wetting, friction, and optics, as well as augment the extreme stretchability in stretchable optical and electronic devices. The new and extreme buckle-delaminated pattern including creasing, period-doubling, non-sinusoidal buckles will enrich the mechanics problems to be explored.

 

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4. Small Wrinkle, Big Application  — Small is Big
Wrinkles are ubiquitous in our lives, from the wavy undulations of our skin, to the folds of hanging curtains, to wrinkled raisins. In the recent ten years, wrinkling has been pursued as a versatile means of generating surface micro/nano-patterns and of harnessing surface topography for a wide range of controllable and tunable applications, including wetting, adhesion, fluid/aerodynamic drag, biofouling, and photonics etc.

 

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5. Mechanics of Biological Morphogenesis
Specified patterns or morphologies are naturally developed during the growth of biological systems at all scales. This research aims at exploring the mechanism underpinning the formation of certain pattern or morphology found in cells, tissues, and organism during their growth. One interesting topic we have explored is the explanation of distinct surface morphology in some fruits by means of wrinkling principle.

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