Séminaire Gulliver : Pedro Reis (EPFL)

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28 juin 11:30 » 12:30 — Bibliothèque PCT - F3.04

Mechanics of rods and knots

It used to be that academic seminars involved a researcher visiting a host institution to deliver a talk and meet with colleagues (do you remember those days ?!). Times have changed, at least temporarily, but this situation is also opening opportunities. In this ’talk’, we will be inviting you for a virtual tour of our Flexible Structures Laboratory (fleXLab) at EPFL in Switzerland. We will show you some of our experimental facilities and share some of our recent research activities, focusing on the mechanics of rods and knots. Multiple members of our team will be involved in this tour. Research at our fleXLab is centered in the general area of the mechanics of slender structures, leveraging their post-buckling regime for novel modes of functionality. Methodologically, we recognize scaled high-precision model experiments as a powerful tool for discovery in mechanics, supported by theory and computation, in a vision of science-enabled engineering and engineering-motivated science. For instance, we are trying to understand the intriguing mechanics of filaments in tight contact. In fabrics, ropes, or knots, the localized contact regions between filaments play an important role in setting the macroscopic mechanical response of the system. In our talk, we will first distill this class of systems down to what we see as the simplest building block by focusing on the mechanics of a single elastic filament wrapped in frictional contact around a rigid cylinder. Next, we will discuss our results on two filaments in tight contact, revealing a surprising inhomogenous pressure distribution between both filaments. Finally, we will present our compare-and-contrast investigation on the shapes of physical knots (using X-ray tomography) and idealized knots (based on purely geometric models), pointing to the central role of geometry in dictating the mechanics of this class of systems.
This virtual lab will also involve the participation of the following fleXLab members : Paul Grandgeorge (Postdoc), and Paul Johanns (Ph.D. student).
We are looking forward to ’e-hosting’ you at our fleXLab at EPFL !





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