Welcome to the Mechanics of Soft Materials Laboratory!
The research in our group falls in the general area of finite deformation mechanistic modeling of soft materials, with a focus on soft materials that can be active (or change shape or deform in response to external stimuli). The material systems include: shape memory polymers, shape memory elastomeric composites, light activated polymers, covalent adaptive network polymers, arterial tissues. We are interested in understanding and modeling the evolution of material structure and mechanical properties of these materials under environmental stimuli, such as temperature, light, etc, and during material processing, such as 3D printing. To assist understanding of mechanical properties, our group routinely conducts thermomechanical or photo-mechanical experiments. Constitutive models developments are typically based on the observations from these experiments. The ultimate goal of the constitutive models is to integrate them with finite element through user material subroutines so that these models can be used to solve complicated 3D multiphysics problems involving nonlinear mechanics.
As examples of these research themes, our current research projects include 4D printing of active materials; mechanics in 3D printing technology; reprocessing and recycling thermosetting polymers; active polymer design and manufacturing. These projects are conducted through supports from NSF and AFOSR, and through collaborations with Singapore University of Technology and Design, and Air Force Research Laboratories.
Our research is dynamic and we continuously look for fun materials to work on but with our root on understanding the physical mechanisms.
Of course, we always look for talented people to join our group and to have fun together!
H. Jerry Qi