Daraio's research featured in Popular Science

The November 2010 issue of Popular Science features Chiara Daraio's research as one of 9th Annual Brilliant 10. More details are given here.

Annual Review of the Stress-Wave Mitigation MURI

The annual review of the Stress-Wave Mitigation MURI will be held at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus on October 20th 2010. The details of the meeting, agenda and schedule of talks are given here.

Update: Some pictures of the review.

Geubelle And Lambros Organizing Mini-Symposium For ASME Conference

Profs. Philippe Geubelle and John Lambros are co-organizing a Mini-Symposium on Mechanical Metamaterials and Stress-Wave Tailoring at the ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, November 12-18, 2010. 

Illinois-Led Project Garners $6.25 Million DoD Grant

Both the electronic components of your cell phone and the explosive portions of military weaponry could be better protected by the smarter materials that scientists including AE Profs. John Lambros and Philippe Geubelle plan to design.

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $6.25 million grant for the University of Illinois-led project, “Design of Adaptive Load Mitigating Materials Using Nonlinear Stress Wave Tailoring.” The DoD’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) will provide $1.25 million annually for five years to support the work.

Calling the project “ambitious,” Lambros said the team wants to control the microstructure of materials that encase critical components. If the equipment is dropped or otherwise damaged, the casing material would channel resulting stress waves to desired locations and away from areas most needing protection.


“If you drop a cell phone, you don’t want the interior components damaged so you don’t want the stress waves to reach the interior. Instead, a smart casing would trap and annihilate the waves and mitigate impact effects,” Lambros said.

Likewise, such casings would result in munitions being more insensitive to impact loading, making weapons handling safer for people and equipment, he said.

In addition to Lambros, the principal investigator of the project, and Geubelle, other Illinois researchers involved in the project are Profs. Alex Vakakis and Dan Tortorelli of Mechanical Science and Engineering, and Prof. Trucy Kriven of Materials Science and Engineering. Joining them will be Chiara Daraio, an assistant professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology.

It’s clear to the team that more than one material will be needed to achieve the desired results. “We’ll need a combination of materials in a heterogeneous composite system,” Lambros said.

Vakakis and Daraio will begin by looking at the fundamental physics resulting from model experiments on simpler systems such as granular materials that include plastic and metal components.

Using the knowledge Vakakis and Daraio gain, Totorelli and Geubelle will do design and optimization work through computer simulation. Kriven will use the simulations to develop new processing methods and new materials, including granular materials, ceramics and geopolymers – inorganic, lightweight materials that don’t have to be heated to high temperatures to be made, but that are hard and durable like ceramics.


Lambros will do experimental mechanics testing and oversee the entire project, which also will require the work of a dozen graduate students and three postdoctoral research associates.

The Army Research Office (ARO), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) conducted the 2009 MURI competition for the DoD. ARO will oversee the Lambros team’s work.

The MURI program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate both research progress and transition of research results to application. Most MURI efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions and academic departments. Selection was highly competitive: a total of 152 proposals were submitted and 41 were funded.