Mechanics in Soft-Hard Materials Integrated Structures and Systems

Zhang, Haozhe, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Xu, Baoxing, EN-Mech & Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia

Soft-hard materials integrated structures and systems are ubiquitous in biological materials and structures, such as the soft proteins and the hard mineralized chitin fibers in exoskeletons of crustaceans like lobsters and crabs. The inherent difference in physical results in a significant mismatch in their mechanical behaviors. For example, the difference in Young’s modulus of soft and hard phases in biological materials and structures is as high as three orders of magnitude. However, such difference is harnessed in bio-materials with elegant structures and leads to extraordinary mechanical performances. Inspired by the bio-materials with soft-hard materials integrated structures, manmade structures and systems are developed to achieve high mechanical performance, such as high toughness and strength. In addition, due to the intrinsic distinction of material physical, and chemical composition, structures, and systems with integrated materials are also utilized to improve optical, electric, and thermal properties. When subjected to mechanical stimuli, rotation of the hard phase in the soft-hard materials integrated structures and systems has been acknowledged due to the mismatch in mechanical properties where the theoretical framework from the mechanical point of view is lacking.
The goal of my research is to design and explore the mechanics (especially the mechanism of rotation) of engineering structures and devices that are enabled by soft-hard materials integrated structures and systems. Theoretical, experimental, and simulation studies will be used to quantitively describe the mechanical properties of the integrated materials/structures. To understand the mechanics of soft-hard materials integrated structures and systems and utilize the material in designing engineering structures with high mechanical performances I will start with the mechanics of stretchable metasurfaces, integrated 2D robotics, and superstructures in lattice organization enabled by soft-hard materials integrated Janus structure. The mechanics theories, experimental demonstration, and simulation analysis will provide a fundamental understanding of mechanics in the soft-hard materials integrated systems and structures. The systematic study will offer an opportunity for inspiring the design of engineering devices and structures with high mechanical performances.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
soft-hard integration, solid mechanics, FEA
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: