PhD thesis proposal: Xiaomin Han

Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 10:00am

Rm. 200, Cummings Hall

“Mechanical self-assembly and multi-stability of thin structures”


Mechanical multi-stable structures have multiple distinct statically stable shapes, and are commonly seen in nature and engineering, e.g. the open and closure of a flytrap. Mechanical multi-stabilities are traditionally perceived as a failure mechanism. However, actively employing instabilities in shape formation is commonplace. Thin structures comprise an increasing portion of engineering construction with areas of application becoming increasingly diverse. This study aims to comprehend the bi-stable and multi-stable behavior of thin structures with the intention of their utilization in engineering applications. The driving forces of multi-stable shape formation can be distributed either discretely or continuously over a thin shell, leading to varies forms of engineering constructions including origami, thin-walled plates, etc. The study focuses on understanding the effects of material properties and geometry variables theoretically and experimentally. Applications of multi-stable structures in wearable devices and implantable devices are investigated. Shape transitions between two stable states of piezoelectric materials generate remarkable and steady power output when subject to a periodic external mechanical force input, which has the potential capability to power the electronic devices and extend the battery lifetime.

Thesis Committee

For more information, contact Daryl Laware at