07.09.17 - Eric Dufresne is the Professor of Soft and Living Materials at ETH Zürich. Previously, he was a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Yale University. His research interests include mechanics and morphogenesis in living and engineered systems.

Robotic and electronic systems are getting softer. Emerging systems pose some fascinating mechanical problems, mainly due to large deformations and interactions with surfaces.

We are looking closely at the mechanics of soft solid surfaces. In this context, we find that classic approaches to composites (Eshelby), adhesion (JKR), and wetting (Young-Dupre) fail spectacularly. The key point is that surface tension (or, more generally, surface stress) takes a leading role, drowning out contributions from bulk elasticity.

I will provide some examples of surface tension dominated phenomenology and describe our current efforts to understand the material origins of these effects.

Author:IGM ColloquimSource:Institute of Mechanical Engineering