EGS.Lab Elasticity, Geometry and Statistics Laboraty


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EGS.Lab EGSLab EGS LabPedro Miguel Reis
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
flexLab: Flexible Structures Laboratory
Institute of Mechanical Engineering
École Polytechnique Féderale de Lausanne
e-mail: pedro.reis(at)

EGS.Lab MIT flexLab EPFL IGM Pedro Reis

Wonders of thin structures Pedro Reis EGS.Lab MITIn the EGS.Lab we are dedicated to the fundamental understanding of the mechanics of thin objects and structures; including rods, plates and shells. The large displacements permissible in such configurations can give rise to non-negligible geometric nonlinearities, even if its material properties remain linear. Of interest is also the coupling of the elasticity of thin objects with other phenomena such as fracture, adhesion, fluid forces at liquid interfaces and flow.

Examples of relevant applications range from thin elements in stretchable electronics and micro-actuators to large civil engineering contexts such as domes, hypar roofs and borewell drilling.

The starting point of the investigations is often through well controlled experiments of desktop-scale model systems for which we take advantage of advanced digital fabrication techniques. The final goal is often the predictive understanding of the large deformations of thin structures. Once a theoretical framework has been developed and the underlying mechanics rationalized, we then aim at implementing it at scale of the original problem (small or large scale) towards practical applications.

A general overview of the questions involving thin structures that interest us can be found in the Journal Club of iMechanica (June 2010)
, in the Research Group profile @ the Engineering Mechanics Institute (September 2011), the Journal Club of iMechanica (October 2013) and MIT Spectrum (Spring 2014).

The following article provides a prespective on our changing relationship with Buckling:
P.M. Reis "A Perspective on the Revival of Structural (in)stability with Novel Opportunities for Function: from Buckliphobia to Buckliphilia" J. App. Mech., 82(11), 111001 (2015). [html, pdf]

For more info, pics and videos on what we do, please visit our research pages.


  • [11/1/2017] We have officially moved from MIT to EPFL in Switzerland. Come and visit us at the flexLab!
  • [9/13/2017] Pedro Reis will join the editorial team of the Journal of Applied Mechanics as Associate Editor, effective 1/1/2018.
  • [7/18/2017] Our research group is moving to EPFL in Switzerland! Link to the official annoucement [here].
  • [7/5/2017] Our paper on patterning on shells through constrained buckling appears in the 1st issue of the new journal Physical Review Matterials[ html , pdf].
  • [10/19/16] Pedro Reis receives the 2017 GSOFT Early Career Award for Soft Matter Research from the American Physical Society.
  • [9/14/16] Manuscript on a design concept for a tuneable optical switch based on a soft color composites is accepted for publication in Extreme Mech. Lett. More soon...
  • [8/7/16] Our paper on predicting the knockdown factors for the critical buckling pressure of spherical shells is published in the J. Appl. Mech. In collaboration with John Hutchinson. More info [here].
  • [7/14/16] Khalid Jawed has successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis. Congrats, Dr. Jawed! All the best for your new post-doc at CMU.
  • [6/1/16] Pedro Reis wins the "Teaching with Digital Technology Award" from MIT's Office of Digital Learning (ODL).
  • [4/7/16] Pedro Reis has been selected to receive the Thomas Hughes Young Investigator Award of the American Mechanics Division (ASME).
  • [4/5/16] Paper on how chocolate has inspired a new rapid technique to fabricate thin elastic shells is published in Nature Communications. More info [here].
  • [3/17/16] Video produced by CEE/MIT summarizes the student's experience in 1.101 - Introduction to Civil & Environmental Engineering Design - a open-ended, project-based, design class at MIT.
  • [3/11/16] Study on curved crystallography of elastic surface crystals (dimpled wrinkling) is published in Physical Review Letters and featured on the cover. More info [here].
  • [2/29/16] Pedro Reis joins the Executive Committee  (recording secretary) of the American Mechanics Division of the ASME.
  • [1/22/16] Our work on soft color composites with tunable optical transmittance is published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials. MIT News Story. More info [here].
  • [12/3/15] Pedro Reis is ellected to the Board of Directors of the Society of Engineering Science.
  • [9/18/15] Our geometric model for coiling of rods on rigid substrates is published in J. App. Mech [html, pdf].
  • [9/9/15] The interplay between the mechanics and topology of simple knots is untangled in Phys. Rev. Lett. More information [here].
  • [9/1/15] Changyeob Baek, Rashed Al-Rashed and Elizabeth (Liz) Strong join the EGS.Lab as graduate students. Welcome to the playground!
  • [8/14/15] Jay's paper on the buckling of a thin elastic rod while it is injected into a horizontal cylinder is published in ISJJ [html]. More information [here].
  • [04/03/15] Pedro Reis gives an invited talk at the March Meeting of the APS on 'Extreme Mechanics of Soft Structures' in the session 'Frontiers of Soft Matter'.
  • [12/09/14] Paper on the theory of wrinkling on curved surfaces, in collaboration with the group of Jorn Dunkel, is published in Nature Materials. [html, pdf]
  • [12/04/14] Paper on the pattern morphology of the elastic sewing machine is accepted for the  first issue of new journal Extreme Mechanics Letters (more about EML here and here). [html, pdf].
  • [11/26/14] Paper on wrinkling crystalography on curved surfaces is published in PNAS! [html, pdf].
  • [10/16/14] Congratulations to Noor and Khalid for wining 1st place of the Best Poster Competition at the 5th NEW.Mech (New England Workshop for the Mechanics of Materials and Structures)  at UMass Amherst.
  • [10/03/14] Khalid's paper on the coiling of elastic rods is published in PNAS. [MIT News,  more info Here].
  • [09/16/14] The EGS.Lab hosted 3 Chefs from Mugaritz, one of the top restaurants in the world, who gave a seminar at the MMEC Seminar Series. Read more in the CAST Blog, El Mercurio and El Pais (Back page of 09/19/14)!
  • [06/27/14] Our paper on the buckling of a rod embedded on an elastic matrix is published in Soft Matter [html, pdf].
  • [05/28/14] The magazine SPECTRVM features the work from our lab, in their recent issue that focuses on Basie Research. [Here]
  • [05/28/14] Mark Guttag passes his Ph.D. qualifying exams in Mechanical Engineering.
  • [05/27/14] Paper on Smart Morphable Surfaces for Aerodynamic Drag Reduction to appear in Advanced Materials [html, pdf]. [More info Here].
  • [03/04/14] Khalid Jawed won the GSNP's Best Student Speaker Award at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society in Denver, CO. Undergraduate Noor Khouri (UROP) also presented her work at the conference.
  • [02/13/14] Our paper on the Mechanics of Curly Hair is published in Phys. Rev. Lett. (Editor's Suggestion & Cover Story) [More info Here]
  • [02/07/14] Pedro Reis is promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor (effective 6/1/2014).

Physical Review Letters cover defects curved crystals wrinkling Pedro Reis MIT

Smart Morphable Structures Pedro Reis MIT

Physics of Curly Hair Pedro Reis MIT

eggshell shell geometry-induced rigidity egs lab pedro reis MIT

eggshell shell geometry-induced rigidity egs lab pedro reis MIT
Scratching Butter Pedro Reis MIT

How Cats Lap Reis Jung Aristoff Stocker

Graphene Pedro Reis Small EGS.Lab MIT

Nature Materials Pedro Reis EGS.Lab MIT

Thanks to LaCozina for help with graphical design.

Last update: 22nd September 2016.