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A Swiss Structures seminar from FlexLab

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Jamie Clarkson.

Luna, Fani and Michael are postdocs from the Flexible Structures Laboratory, EPFL Lausanne. Each will present a talk, covering the following topics:

(i) – Luna – The fluid-structure interaction of bristled wings

Slender structures covered with hairs are commonly observed in nature. A particularly intriguing example is the bristled wings of miniature insects. With bristled wings, miniature insects achieve flight via drag-based rowing mechanisms. By combining experiments, simulations and theoretical analysis, we aim to investigate the trade-off among weight, stiffness, and drag of idealized models of the bristled wings. Particular emphasis is given to the role of elastic deformation of the bristles in modifying the generated drag.

(ii) – Fani – Shell buckling of imperfect shells as an extreme-value statistics problem

The buckling capacity of thin shells is highly sensitive to imperfections. Here, we investigate the even more challenging problem of shells containing a random distribution of defects. Focusing on elastic hemispherical shells, we study the statistics of critical buckling loads using experimentally validated finite element modeling (FEM). Our results suggest that the shell buckling of shells containing a random distribution of defects can be regarded as a ‘weakest-link’ problem governed by extreme-value statistics.

(iii) – Michael – Elastic ribbons with inhomogeneous pre-stress: twisting instabilities and reduced models

For a slender elastic filament subject to small pre-stress, it is well known that the system can be modelled as an Euler–Bernoulli rod with effective natural curvature and twist. However, a challenge is to formulate effective models in situations where the Euler–Bernoulli kinematic assumptions do not apply. To address the need for simple, reduced models of such filaments, in this talk we analyse elastic ribbons subject to large, inhomogeneous pre-stress as a model system. We find that the buckling behaviour provides a macroscopic analogue of several critical phenomena in the classical theory of thermodynamic phases.

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This talk is part of the Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars series.

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