Solid Mechanics and Materials

Research in solid mechanics and materials at Syracuse University is primarily focused in the areas of composite materials, biomechanics, and computational mechanics of materials. Both areas include theoretical, experimental and simulations.

Mechanics of Composites

Research at the Syracuse University Composite Materials Laboratory (SU-CML) focuses on understanding, characterizing and predicting damage growth and its effect on strength, stiffness and life. Investigations involve both polymeric and ceramic matrix composites. One primary area of interest is in the area of interlaminar crack (delamination) growth in advanced polymeric composites. Work in this area includes the development of test methodologies to measure delamination resistance, or toughness, experimental studies to examine the dependence of toughness on the type of loading and on the environmental conditions, and theoretical work to develop analytical and computational models to predict delamination growth in practical structural geometries. Among other usages, Boeing has adopted approaches developed in the SU-CML in the design of the new 787 “Dreamliner” passenger jet.
Fundamental work on the mechanics of interfaces in composite media focuses on exact elasticity solutions to problems of interfacial defect growth and stability in isotropic and orthotropic multi-layered systems subject to arbitrary loading. The technical significance of the work stems from the widespread use of composite layers, at least one of which is often anisotropic, in adhesive and protective coatings, in dental restorations consisting of ceramic, ceramic filled polymer and cementitious layers and, in the rehabilitation of structures where fiber reinforced plastic plate is adhered to damaged concrete beams.


Research in biomechanics includes the study of orthopedic biomaterials, nanomechanics of membranes and problems in mechanobiology. Orthopedic biomaterials research involves the characterization of tribological and structural behavior of new or proposed materials. Nanomechanics research involves nano-scale characterization of the surface and wetting properties of mono- and bilayer membranes formed from lipids. Work in mechanobiology is concerned with the mechanics of atherosclerotic plaque rupture and, with incipient aneurysm growth in the aorta. The work is motivated by the desire to understand the mechanisms leading, in the case of plaque rupture, to thrombus formation by fibrous cap failure. In the case of aneurysm growth the desire is to understand the effects of diseased arterial tissue on the evolution of aneurysm wall thickness, diameter and growth rate.