Our group does both modeling and mechanical testing on a wide range of cellular solids. Our group has contributed to the understanding of the mechanics of cellular solids, as well as to their use in many of the above applications. Recent and current projects include: the mechanics of fluid flow through open-cell foams for helmets and blast protection; the design and characterization of osteochondral scaffolds for the regeneration of cartilege as well as the underlying bone; and the mechanical interaction between biological cells, such as fibroblasts, and tissue engineering scaffolds (e.g., cell migration, contraction).

Current Research Projects

Composite Aerogel Panel Project

Aerogel Granules Silica aerogel is known for its remarkably low thermal conductivity. However, the microstructural features that give rise to the low thermal conductivity also give the material poor mechanical properties. Through the development of the panels, the goal of the project is conserving energy through better insulation of buildings, potentially having a great impact on our nation's energy needs.

Structural Bamboo Products Project

Bamboo Bamboo is known to grow rapidly and has mechanical properties comparable to timber woods. For these reasons, bamboo has great potential as sustainable construction material. In addition, bamboo is common throughout the developing world. The current work’s goal is to characterize a particular species’ (Phyllostachys pubescens) microstructure, mechanical properties, and their variation. Collaborators at the University of British Columbia and Cambridge University will work on creating structural bamboo products for application.

Engineering honeycombs and foams

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Examples of engineering cellular solids: left, an aluminum honeycomb; center, an open-cell polyurethane foam; right, a closed-cell polyethylene foam (Gibson, 2005 J. Biomechanics).

Cellular materials in medicine

Osteochondral scaffold with acollagen-GAG layer on top and a calcium phosphate mineralized collagen-GAG layer below (Harley et al. 2010, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research).

Cellular materials in nature


Robert Hooke's drawing of the cells in cork, from his book, Micrographia (1665).