Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 09/25/2018
Tuesday, 09/25/2018
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Narayanan Menon
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Physics Department

“Flexibility and Form: Emergence of Shape in Thin Sheets”

ABSTRACT

Thin sheets assume a rich diversity of shapes in the natural world, ranging from folds on the earth’s crust, to the wavy shapes of leaves and flowers, down to more microscopic biomembranes and synthetic thin films. The patterns include smooth architectural motifs such as wrinkles, as well as focused localized objects such as folds and ridges. Our experiments study the emergence of complex shapes in thin, fluid-supported polymer films starting from simple featureless initial conditions via successive elastic instabilities. Understanding these patterns required new notions of ‘thinness’ or bendability, which define regimes in which textbook theories of post-buckling fail. I will end by describing new opportunities for wrapping and encapsulation with highly-bendable materials.

BRIEF ACADEMIC/EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

My undergraduate work was done at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and I received a PhD in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of Chicago. I’m currently a Professor of Physics and department head at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

MOST RECENT RESEARCH INTERESTS:

Granular materials, active matter, flexible sheets and filaments, sedimentation.