Light-weight, high-porosity (>80%) polyurethane foams are currently employed in many consumer applications from shoe insoles to soft body armor due to their exceptional energy dissipation potential. Yet their constitutive response remains poorly understood and poses a major obstacle in unlocking their true material potential.

Hypothesized to be a potential injury mechanism in blast and even blunt related traumatic brain injuries, inertial microcavitation is a powerful phenomenon capable of generating significant stresses and strains within brain tissue at hyper ballistic loading rates. This project aims to detail this new injury mechanism and its underlying neural pathology. 


Development of a Predictive Multiscale Traumatic Brain Injury Model

(Multi-PI Initiative with Ron Szalkowski (Team Wendy), D. Hoffman-Kim, H. Kesari (Brown), L. Lamberson (Drexel), C. Hovey (Sandia))

Mark Scimone, Luke Summey, Angel Chukwu, Jing Zhang

Successful protection and prevention of traumatic brain injuries requires a complete understanding of the small-scale, cellular response to the mechanical insult. Through extensive collaboration between our lab with Team Wendy, Drexel University, Sandia National Laboratories and the Office of Naval Research, this project establishes a comprehensive framework for identifying the onset of TBI in the brain and a new bottom-up approach for transformative material mitigation and brain treatment strategies.

Development of a Multiscale Experimental-Numerical Framework for Characterizing Inertial Cavitation in Complex Soft Matter

(Multi-PI Initiative with E. Johnsen, Z. Xu (Michigan), D. Henann (Brown), and T. Colonius (Caltech)

As opposed to traditional cavitation studies focused on understanding the physical behavior of expanding and collapsing bubbles in water or against metallic interfaces, this project focuses on understanding the physics of cavitation in complex soft materials. In particular, understanding how the rate-dependent, finite deformation behavior of length and time scale dependent compliant polymers affect the pressure, stress and strain fields in cavitating bubbles is investigated.

Neutrophils are the body's first line of defense against infections and bacteria. The tremendous capacity of these cells to extravasate from the blood stream into bodily tissues of varying compliance and geometry is a life critical component of their bacteria fighting function. This project investigates the fundamental mechanism behind this incredible mechanic-adaptivity with the goal to inform the development of contractility-based next generation drugs for the fight against sepsis and immune disorders.

Many applications in mechanics from fluid flows to localization and interfacial events in materials require the accurate resolution of the full-field displacement and velocity fields. Using state-of-the art developments in computer science & vision, solid and fluid mechanics, we focus on developing new image-correlation and particle tracking techniques for resolving complex, and spatially heterogenous large deformation fields in 2D and 3D. All of our algorithms can be downloaded freely from our Github page.