ME 2208 Mechanics and Physics of Soft Materials

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Offered: 2020 Spring M/W 3:00-4:15

Description: Comparing to hard materials (e.g. steel and ceramics), soft materials such as rubber, hydrogel, and tissue are in many aspects more "liquid-like": large deformation, viscoelasticity, high permeability, and poor mechanical strength. This course helps student to build a solid understanding of soft materials step by step, from the microscopic molecular picture all the way to macroscopic continuum models. Course topics include:

  1. Molecular structures
  2. Intermolecular interactions
  3. Basic statistical mechanics
  4. Behavior of a single polymer chain
  5. Elastomer and gel
  6. Rheology of soft materials
  7. Fracture

The course put special emphasis on the solid understanding of the physical pictures and skills of back-of-envelope estimation, which are invaluable in making research decisions before investing time and money, whether it is about theoretical modeling, numerical simulation, or experiments. The course require undergraduate level background in calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, mechanics, thermodynamics, and basic knowledge of linear elasticity.