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Abstract: Random fiber networks are present in many biological and man-made materials. Examples from the living world include the cellular cytoskeleton and various types of connective tissue. Examples from the non-living world include paper, rubber, gels, insulation and hygiene consumer products. In this work we study the relationship between the microstructure and the mechanical properties of the network, with emphasis on identifying regimes in which large changes of the system scale behavior are triggered by small changes in system parameters. Results pertaining to multiple types of networks will be presented and contrasted, including networks made from a single type of fiber and composite networks made from fibers of multiple types, densely cross-linked, sparsely cross-linked and non-cross-linked networks. Networks of non-cross-linked nanofibers interacting by adhesion form a separate class of such systems; the role of adhesion in defining the mechanical behavior of networks of fiber bundles will be discussed. Damage accumulation and failure in random networks will be also discussed, with emphasis on the relationship between the strength of the fibrous material and its microstructure.

Biosketch: Prof. Picu received his PhD degree from Dartmouth College and spent two years as Research Associate at Brown University. He joined the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1998, where he is now Professor and Associate Head. He is the author or co-author of two books, multiple book chapters and over 170 journal articles. His research focuses on mechanics of materials, and in particular, on understanding the macroscopic material behavior based on physics taking place on multiple scales. He is a fellow of ASME

Date(s) - Mar 09, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


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