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I often use the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius
— Faster, Higher, Stronger — to describe the overall purpose of my work. I strive to expand the boundaries of my research fields to help create structures, devices, and vehicles that are stronger, lighter, faster and with improved properties. Shock waves are useful tools to generate highly dynamic and extreme conditions to study a range of such fields in fluids and solids. In particular, my research group use shock waves to study fluid-structure interaction under intense loading scenarios. Thus, our research addresses dynamic extremes in the fields of fluid and solid mechanics, including sub-disciplines such as fracture mechanics.
- Shock Wave Dynamics
- The area of shock dynamics, and in particular shock focusing, has been of high interest since the 1950's with the ground breaking work of Perry & Kantrowitz. Fast forward to 2015, and we realize that many questions related to shock dynamics remain unanswered. My research group's work on shock dynamics can be divided into two parts: (1) how to use multiple shock fronts to create more extreme conditions (at a specified target area) than if a single shock front was used, and (2) how to mitigate shock waves passively using cheap, reliable and environmentally friendly methods utilizing techniques learned from shock focusing studies.
- Dynamic Response of Polymers to High Strain Rate Loading
- Of particular interest is to understand properties of wave propagation in fluids in contact with solid structures. The response of the structure depends to a large degree on what type of fluid it is in contact with during the impact. For example, the response of dynamic events taking place in ideal laboratory conditions with room temperature and standard atmospheric pressure are very different from for example dynamic events taking place in environments with varying relative humidity at high or low temperatures.
- Shocks & Impact on Complex Materials
- My research extends to areas that concern different types of materials such as amorphous metals and biological materials. While seemingly diverse, these areas have much in common with the core expertise of my research group. Many groups experience traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and mild TBIs such as soldiers returned from war, athletes in contact sports, and everyday people injured in falls or transportation accidents. The most alarming fact is that the long-term effects of repeated concussions remain unknown. Consequently, we proceeded to develop an experimental methodology where one has full control of the rapid applied mechanical loading, and can simultaneously study the mechanical and biological response of "brain-in-a-dish" models to quantify injury.
Our project on amorphous metals has proven useful to study impact loading at low speeds, and shock loading at very high speeds (700—1500 m/s). This effort has helped us to establish elastic limits and a Hugoniot curve for two types of iron-based amorphous metals.