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Modeling the role of elasticity in evolution of soft-material systems


Term:

Summer

Department:

2: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Tal Cohen

Faculty email:

talco@mit.edu

Apply by:

May 7th

Contact:

Mrityunjay Kothari: mjayk@mit.edu

Project Description

Many systems like cells, food and soils exhibit a physical setting where liquid droplets or air bubbles are distributed in a surrounding elastic matrix. These droplets or bubbles can coalesce, dissolve or just remain there unchanged, depending on the mechanical properties of the matrix, especially its elastic properties. We recently developed a theoretical understanding of how the sizes of droplets depends on the elasticity of the matrix. However, the effect of external conditions such as mechanical stress or local thermal changes is largely unknown. We are looking for an undergraduate to apply and expand the knowledge developed in the group to answer these questions. A better quantitative understanding of these effects will lead to progress in answering questions about how cells organize and transport matter in space, how to increase the shelf-life of food and what role do soils have in transport of greenhouse gases.

Pre-requisites

some basic background in mechanics and applied math