Friday, July 28, 2006

Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology

VJ virtual journal of nanoscale science and technology is a weekly virtual journal that contains articles that have appeared in one of the participating source journals and that fall within a number of contemporary topical areas in the science and technology of nanometer-scale structures. The articles are primarily those that have been published in the previous week; however, at the discretion of the editors older articles may also appear, particularly review articles. Links to other useful Web resources on nanoscale systems are also provided.

The journal provides a quick update of the current research in nanoscale science and technology. If your article is publsihed by a participating journal and it also appears in VJ, you may consider that your work has received some attentions, to say the least. You can sign up for FREE content alerts.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mechanics of Solids and Materials

This graduate level textbook by Robert J. Asaro and Vlado A. Lubarda has recently been published. The website of Cambridge University Press gives some description of the book.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Online Journal Club on Flexible Electronics

In the sidebar of this blog, I've added a link to the Macroelectronics Journal Club, which was started by Teng Li using CiteULike. You may want to read Teng Li's introduction to the Journal Club. You may want to join his club, or create your own club.

Monday, July 10, 2006

e-reader is out

For those who do research on macroelectronics, the e-reader has been a long awaited product. Will it really be as good as a printed book?

Note added on 11 July 2006. See also 5 new design concepts of flexible displays.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

2005 AMD Honors and Awards Banquet, Orlando, Presided by Wing Kam Liu, Chair

A highlight of the Applied Mechanics Annual Dinner, of the ASME International Applied Mechanics Division, is to reward distinguished members for their contributions to the field of applied mechanics.

The Mission of the Applied Mechanics Division
The Division of Applied Mechanics strives to foster the intelligent use of mechanics by engineers and to develop this science to serve the needs of the engineering community. Areas of activity cover all aspects of mechanics, irrespective of approach, including theoretical, experimental, and computational methodology. The field of mechanics, which is the study of how media responds to external stimuli, includes fundamental analytical and experimental studies in:

Biomechanics, Composite materials, Computing methods, Dynamics, Elasticity, Experimental Methods, Fluid dynamics, Fracture, Geomechanics, Hydrodynamics, Lubrication, Mechanical properties of materials, Micromechanics, Plasticity and failure, Plates and shells, Wave propagation, other related fields.

The Applied Mechanics Division is one of the oldest and largest divisions of ASME. Professor Stephen P. Timoshenko, first Chairman of the division, and others founded the Division.

The Awards of the Applied Mechanics Division
  • Young Investigator Award
  • Applied Mechanics Division Award
  • Daniel C. Drucker Medal
  • Warner T. Koiter Medal
  • Timoshenko Medal
Description of these awards, along with nomination forms, can be found at the AMD website. In addition, funding is being raised for a new Award, the Thomas K. Caughey Medal.

The following is a collection of photos of the 2005 winners taken at the Applied Mechanics Annual Dinner.

Professor George Haller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently received the Young Investigator Award for his outstanding achievements in Applied Mechanics.
Professor Haller’s work focuses on nonlinear dynamical systems theory. Some of his numerous contributions to the field of Applied Mechanics includes the development of the energy-phase method, which is used to predict chaos in nonlinear systems, and a proof of a general criterion concerning detection of flow separation. Haller has written over fifty scientific papers. He was also named the Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Fellow in 2003 and continues to be an important contributor to the scientific community. You can read a previous entry on him in AMR.


Professor Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan of Harvard University received the Young Investigator Award for his research in nonlinear and nonequilibrium phenomena in continuum mechanics. Mahadevan’s work focuses on exploration both through experiments and theory. Observing the mechanical behavior of living and nonliving things in the everyday world, Mahadevan truly enjoys “to discover the sublime in the mundane” and through science, find the hidden truths of commonplace objects. Mahdevan has written around 70 papers concerning his work. Other honors of his include the Society of Engineering Science Young Investigator Medal (2000) and the Visiting Miller Research Professorship at Berkeley (2005-2006). You can read a previous entry on him in AMR.


Professor Carl T. Herakovich of the University of Viriginia recently received the Applied Mechanics Division Award for his significant contributions to mechanics of fibrous composite materials. Herakovich has researched a variety of composite materials including boron-epoxy, carbon-epoxy, and alumina-porous alumina fibers in a nickel matrix. He has made new discoveries on edge effects in certain materials, and has written over 130 papers to date. Herakovich formed the NASA-Virginia Tech Composites Program and has been a consultant for the National Materials Advisory Board of the National Academies for the last two years. You can read his acceptance speech delivered at the Applied Mechanics Annual Dinner.


Professor Robert Taylor of the University of California, Berkeley, received the Daniel C. Drucker Medal for his contributions to computational solid mechanics, and most notably, for the development of software for the purpose of calculating inelastic response of structures. Taylor has written over 300 works, many concerning applications of the finite element method. Taylor has elected for membership in the U.S. National Academy of Engineering for his significant contributions in computational mechanics. In addition, among numerous other honors, Taylor received the IACM Gauss-Newton Congress Medal in 2001.


Professor Raymond Ogden of the University of Glasgow received the Warner T. Koiter Medal for his outstanding achievement in the field of solid mechanics, more specifically, for his contributions in nonlinear elasticity. He has published over 170 articles and books has furthered research in areas such as the biomechanics of soft tissue and the influence of finite strain on the propagation of waves and vibrations in elastic solids. Ogden has been the editor of the IMA Journal of Applied Mathematics for the past decade and is now a member of the editorial board of the Quarterly Journal of Mechanics and Applied Mathematics.


Professor Grigory I. Barenblatt of the University of California, Berkeley received the Timoshenko Medal for his significant achievements in applied mechanics. Barenblatt’s innovation helped him form a new idea, the Barenblatt tip, about the finite material cohesion at the tip of the fracture. This new integration of cohesion with fracture became a milestone in the theory of fracture. This and other theories created by Barenblatt have made him the indisputable world leader in fracture theory. He has also made contributions in the study of porous media equation. Barenblatt’s book called “Theory of Fluid Flows through Natural Rocks” explains the problem of removal of oil from natural reservoirs and is used around the world by the petroleum engineers. You can read his acceptance speech delivered at the Applied Mechanics Annual dinner, along with a piece by Xanthippi Markenscoff.

Shaky Equilibrium - Phys Rev Focus

The 'crystallization' of shaken sand-like grains matches the process in computer simulations of idealized molecules, implying that the physics of gases and fluids may apply to granular materials.

1990 Timoshenko Medal Lecture by Stephen H. Crandall


The Joy of Applying Mechanics

Stephen H. Crandall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Text of Timoshenko Medal acceptance speech delivered at the Applied Mechanics Dinner of the 1990 Winter Annual Meeting of ASME in Dallas, Texas.

Good evening. Thank you Tom and Art for your kind introductions.

Thirty-five years ago I joined the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME. Two years later I was in the audience when the first Timoshenko medal was awarded to Stepan Prokovievich Timoshenko. I wonder how many others here tonight were also in that audience (a show of hands indicated that there were a total of twelve including the speaker). After that first medal, the Division went into high gear. In the next three years, six of the remaining giants of applied mechanics were given Timoshenko medals: Th. von Karman, G. I. Taylor, Arpad Nadai, Sir Richard Southwell, C. B. Biezeno, and Richard Grammel. Then in 1961, the Division settled down to our present steady-state operation of one medal a year. I haven't missed many AMD dinners through the years so I have had the good fortune to see most of the previous 36 awardees receive their medals. Taken together, they form an impressive cavalcade of applied mechanics. I consider it a very great honor to join this team.

I feel proud and humble at the same time. Five years ago when the late Eli Sternberg was accepting the Timoshenko medal he said, in jest, that medals, much like arthritis, were a common symptom of advancing years. I am sure that underneath that jest, deep down in his heart of hearts, Eli was just as proud as I am to receive this award.

In my case I owe a great deal to my mentor the late Jaapie Den Hartog and indirectly to his mentor before that. When I joined the ME department at MIT in 1946 Den Hartog was my first boss. Many of you already know that Den Hartog's first boss, 22 years earlier at Westinghouse, was none other than our Stepan Prokovievich. From this point of view I think you can say that I'm the first third generation Timoshenko medalist.

Many of my predecessors have taken this opportunity to reflect on the state of applied mechanics. Some have been optimistic, others pessimistic. I find myself strongly optimistic. In my time I've seen great changes in mechanics education and great changes in mechanics research. Fifty years ago in the required curriculum for mechanical engineers at MIT there were nine semesters of applied mechanics. Today there are about 2 1/2 semesters in the required curriculum which are devoted to applied mechanics. You could call that the bad news. The good news is that in these same 50 years there has been an enormous growth in the amount of applied mechanics research. The growth rate in the number of mechanics journals over the past 50 years has been substantially greater than the inflation rate in the cost of living. The growth has been in many directions. Some developments have been driven by military and industrial applications. Some developments have been driven by the desire for greater rigor. One direction of development which has flourished during my time has been the treatment of multi-discipline and multi-media problems. Forty years ago I stumbled over the idea that most engineering analysis problems fall into one of three major categories: equilibrium problems, eigenvalue problems, or propagation problems. However, when I wrote Engineering Analysis, all the examples I used were limited to single discipline problems: an elastic structure, or a compressible flow, or a thermal conduction field. The book had hardly been published when I noticed that some of my colleagues were writing about topics like thermoelasticity or electromechanics or magneto-hydrodynamics. I found myself doing research on fluid-structure interactions, on soil-structure interactions, and on random vibration which is the marriage of vibration theory with probability theory.

For the most part, the developments in mechanics are in the applications. The basic theory is pretty much in place. I often tell my dynamics students that the last major break¬through in dynamics was made by a 24-year-old Cambridge University graduate student 325 years ago. His name was Isaac Newton. This is, of course, an exaggeration. Even in classical dynamics there is some growth. We have had a significant advance during the last decade with the development of the theory of chaotic responses to deterministic excitations. I think we can look forward to changes in how mechanics education is organized and to changes in application areas for mechanics research, but I am optimistic that there will continue to be interesting and exciting things to do in mechanics.

My wife Pat has a favorite cookbook called "The Joy of Cooking". What I'd like to do now is to recount to you my views on "The Joy of Applying Mechanics". I have had the good fortune to live through a period when an academic career devoted to applied mechanics could indeed be a joy. The primary reasons for this are the teaching, the research, and the people.

First of all, mechanics is fun to teach. It has its own logical consistency. Almost everything fits, and once you get into it the density of illuminating insights is very great. I sometimes feel sorry for my colleagues in materials and design. Compared to mechanics, those subjects are very difficult to teach well.

Secondly, mechanics is fun to do research in. The thrill of turning up a new insight is an exquisite joy, whatever the discipline, but the richness of insights, at all levels, in mechanics, makes it an especially inviting field. The spectrum of opportunities ranges from abstract analysis, to computational mechanics, to experimental mechanics. One of the spectacular areas of growth that I have witnessed is that of laboratory instrumentation for research in mechanics. For many investigations the latest high-tech instrumentation is indispensable, but mechanics is perhaps unique in providing opportunities for serious work with elementary tools. For example, the most effective technique I found for displaying the salient features of a wide-band random vibration field did not involve laser holography but consisted simply of resurrecting Chladni's 150-year-old technique of sprinkling salt on the vibrating plate.

Finally, mechanics is fun because of the people. The most important people are the students and the national and international brotherhood of fellow researchers in mechanics. Students provide a wonderful stimulus to their teachers. I agree with the statement that the way to stay young is to stop looking in the mirror and to concentrate instead on the faces of the students. A great joy as one grows older is the network of colleagues sharing similar research interests that one meets at national and international meetings. The opportunities for this were greatly expanded for my generation by the invention of the jet plane.

Pat and I enjoy travelling. Our marriage began with a sabbatical year in post-war London and we have subsequently enjoyed sabbaticals in France, Mexico, Israel, and California. We have gone on lecture tours in Australia, the Soviet Union, and China. Over the years we have built up an extended family of applied mechanics friends all around the world. As a spin-off from international travelling I took up the hobby of studying foreign languages. I have enjoyed learning basic conversational skills in several languages but so far I have only reached my goal of being able to give a lecture in the language in French, Spanish, and Russian. At a birthday celebration, not too long ago, I was being "roasted" about this hobby and I would like to share with you one of the jokes they told.

A tiny mouse was running for its life with a big black cat in pursuit. Just in time it popped into its hole and went squeaking with fright to its mother. "Oh mother! There's a terrible big cat outside. It almost killed me." The mother mouse calmed her child down saying, "There, there. You're safe in here." Then she said, "Now I'll teach you a lesson." Where upon mother mouse climbed boldly out of the hole and marched right up to the cat. Looking the cat in the eye she said, "Bow Wow! Arf, Arf!" The cat was so surprised, it turned tail and ran. Mother mouse then turned to her child and said, "Now you see the advantage of having a second language!"

Well, I hope you can see that I've thoroughly enjoyed a career of applying mechanics. To have it all topped off with the Timoshenko Medal is indeed a great delight. My cup runneth over! I shall always be grateful to the Applied Mechanics Division for this heartwarming recognition from my colleagues and friends. Thank you all.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

1991 Timoshenko Medal Lecture by Yuan-Cheng Fung

Mechanics of Man

by Yuan-Cheng Fung, University of California, San Diego

The text of the Timoshenko Medal Acceptance Speech delivered at the Applied Mechanics Dinner of the 1991 Winter Annual Meeting of ASME in Atlanta, Georgia.

First of all, let me thank those of you who worked hard to give me this honor. I know how much effort was involved. I want to thank Dr. Saric, Dr. Bogy, and all the Committee members who indulged in me. And thank you all here this evening. To Chia Shun's remarks I am speechless. I love him as a brother. I am proud to be praised by a sibling. He is the Timoshenko Professor at the University of Michigan. With this medal I can catch up with him to honor our hero.

I am very glad to be given this Award, because Timoshenko is my hero. His books on Elasticity, Elastic Stability, and Plates and Shells are the ones I cut my teeth on. Another hero of mine is Theodor von Karman. A third one is Poiseuille, who brought fluid mechanics to medicine. They are my idols, and I am very fortunate to have been given a von Karman medal by ASCE in 1976, a Poiseuille medal by the International Society of Biorheology in 1986, and a Timoshenko medal today. I would like to speak about them. I think they have a common feature in that they developed a mechanics of man, as distinguished from a mechanics of the heaven and earth.

In character, these three men were different. Timoshenko had a father image and is more immitigable. In the first lecture I heard from Timoshenko in 1949, he talked about how brilliant St. Venant was in science and engineering. He questioned why St. Venant was so obscure in French history. He searched for the reasons long and detailed. I felt it was like listening to a tale about a lost uncle on Christmas Eve.

Another good description of Timoshenko I heard from Den Hartog in his Timoshenko Award acceptance speech. Den Hartog said that he was working under Timoshenko at Westinghouse Research Lab when he finished a paper on torsion and hesitated to publish it because he did not know whether it was important enough. Timoshenko told him, "Who do you think you are! One contributes what one can!" One contributes what one can! I like that attitude.

In a von Karman lecture I heard, he opened with a remark about himself. He said that in his youth he missed inventing the radio, in his prime age he missed inventing the airplane, in his senior years he missed inventing the nuclear reactor. In his old age he would miss the exploration of space. So he can only talk about waves, aerodynamics, and aerothermo-dynamics. As a graduate student I did not know what to make of that comment, but I remembered it. It does make sense to me now against his total contributions and ambitions. The story of his inventing the vortex street was this: He was in Gottingen and talked to Herr Hiemenz who had spent years measuring the flow behind a circular cylinder. Hiemenz could not get the flow to be stabilized. The data he obtained was always oscillating. So Karman went to work on it and wrote out the whole theory in one weekend. When he presented it at a meeting in Paris, Henri Benard said that he had photographed the vortices earlier and there were some differences between Karman's theory and the experimental results. Karman made some quick calculations on the back of an envelope, stood up to explain the differences, and suggested that the street should be called "Boulevard de Benard in Paris." Such stories make Karman inimitable.

Poiseuille was born in 1797. He attended Ecole Polytechnique and got his Doctor of Science degree at age 31 with a thesis on the measurement of blood pressure with a small bore mercury manometer. He obtained the first accurate values of blood pressure since Stephen Hales showed the way 119 years earlier (1709). Then, in 1840, at an age of 43, he published his famous paper on water flow in circular cylindrical tubes. He used pipettes of diameter 15 microns to avoid turbulence, a diameter similar to capillary blood vessels. After that he published only one other paper, on the measurement of flow with ether and mercury at the suggestion of the reviewers of his famous paper. His biographers did not know what positions he held in his life until he was 63 years old, when he became an inspector of primary schools in Paris. He died on Dec. 26, 1869 at an age of 72. He exemplifies the case that one paper makes a man.

These three men are not shy in applying mechanics to new areas. They showed that science is developed by man, and man is helped by developments in science. In hard times like this year of budget cuts, it is worth remembering this principle, because society always has a need to improve the lot of people, and engineers are the ones to deliver such improvements. And the society will always provide the needed resources.

I believe in this principle, and did not find too much conflict between personal interest and the necessity for survival. Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I was born in China in 1919. I grew up in a period when China was very unsure of itself. My memory of my childhood was that the Christmas seasons were the time to seek refuge in the countryside, to get out of the way of the war paths of local war lords fighting for territory. I remember my family crowded in a little boat eating cold chicken. That's probably why I have liked cold chicken all my life. Later, China's problem of survival became even more difficult. In my first junior high school year, Japan took Manchuria (the September 18th event). The next year Japan invaded Shanghai (the January 28th event) and we fled to Peking. At year's end, Japan invaded She-Feng Kou and we fled back to Changchow. Students struck often to protest the government's nonresistance policy. I entered college in 1937 when the Japanese militarists started the last big push to conquer China. I chose to study aeronautics because airplanes were needed most in China's fight for survival.

In 1943, a consortium of American universities offered 20 graduate assistantships to China. The Chinese government held a national examination, selected the candidates, trained them for language, then sent them on their way. I got the position from Caltech. When I arrived in Pasadena and reported to Ernie Sechler on Jan. 6, 1946, Ernie laughed heartily by saying that the assistantship offer had expired by over two years! But he hired me as an RA. I inherited a little wind tunnel built by von Karman and Louis Dunn to study the flutter of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge, and was also given the job to study a drawer full of notes and scratch papers written by Tony Biot on theoretical analysis of flutter of that bridge, and to write a report about it. That was how I got into aeroelasticity. Unfortunately, von Karman had retired, Biot had gone to New York, and Dunn had gone to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I was left without a supervisor on aeroelasticity. Professor of mathematics Aristotle Michal took me under his wing. He taught me Frechet derivatives, with which I began my thesis on airplane dynamics.

I got my Ph.D. in Aeronautics in 1948, and stayed on the faculty. Ernie Sechler was my mentor. I have an enormous love and respect for him. Whatever I did he could show me a way to make it simpler. He was a wise counselor, and a warm friend. We worked together for 20 years on swept wing design, shell buckling, ICBM base hardening, rocket structure, fuel sloshing, etc.
In 1957, I began my self-study of physiology. I had a sabbatical leave in Gottingen, Germany. I stayed at Prandtl and von Karman's old Institution. I found its work on aeroelasticity rather dull, but the library on physiology next door was excellent. The causal factor for my going to the library was my mother's glaucoma. I translated newly published articles on glaucoma into Chinese and sent them to her in China to give to her surgeon. On returning to Caltech I began working on physiology with Sid Sobin, Wally Frasher, and Ben Zweifach. Together we wrote papers on the capillary blood vessels, red blood cells, the interaction of cells and vessels, and the mechanical properties of living soft tissues. I found continuum mechanics indispensible in clarifying these topics. In 1966, I resigned from Caltech and went to UCSD to devote full time to physiology and bioengineering.

I wanted to demonstrate that physiological problems can be solved with engineering methods. Together with Sid Sobin, I chose to work on the blood circulation in the lung. It was surprising that a thorough search of literature yielded very little reliable basic data on the pulmonary vasculature. The basic information we needed on the anatomy of the lung and biorheological properties of the materials did not exist. We had to obtain them by ourselves. Hence we had to turn ourselves into anatomists and histologists before we could use mathematical tools for physiology. The program was straightforward, but the road was long. For pulmonary circulation, it took us 12 years before we could close the first round. But we had fun on the way, and found many pretty pebbles right and left. The data we collected can be used to solve other problems. The theory worked out can be used clinically. Our patience was pretty good because a master plan existed and we knew the value of every link in the chain. But the importance of longevity became evident.

On approaching retirement, I entered another field: that of the relationship between tissue growth and physical stress. The question began at home. My wife, Luna, has a little high blood pressure which can be controlled with diazyde. But she does not like to take medicine. So she takes diazyde until her blood pressure lowers, then she stops to wait until the blood pressure rises again before taking another pill. This is not what the doctor ordered, and I wanted to know if it was a good idea. So I made a research project out of it. The project turned out to be full of surprises. For example, I found that our blood vessels remodel themselves rather quickly when the blood pressure changes. If the blood pressure was raised as a step function of time, structural change in the blood vessel wall will be detectable in one or two hours. Generally, the inner wall of the blood vessel will thicken first, doubling its thickness in two or three days. Then the outer wall thickens, and can be doubled in about 10 days. Furthermore, the residual stress in the vessel wall changes. Residual stress can be revealed by cutting a vessel segment into a ring, then cutting the ring open radially. The ring opens into a sector. The opening angles of normal arteries vary from place to place in the range of 0 to 90°, but in the aortic arch region it could be about 180°. In the pulmonary trunk it can be 360° or larger, i.e., it has so much residual stress that if it were given a chance to reach zero-stress, the vessel will turn itself inside out! Isn't that amazing! With a stepwise increase of blood pressure, the opening angle will increase first, reach a peak in 2 days, then decrease to an asymptotic value. The up and down swing of opening angle can be as large as 90-100° in some places. Our blood vessels are that alive! Associated with the structural changes, the mechanical properties change also. The constitutive equation changes with time. They are not constitutional laws at all.

These results are published in refereed medical journals such as Circulation Research, Journal of Applied Physiology, American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, etc., so I am not just telling you stories. You understand the mechanics instantly. I wish the medical people were as easily convinced as you are.

Fortunately, when the blood pressure is returned to normal, the changes are reversible to a large extent. Hence it appears that my wife is right. So she said, "All right. Then why don't you stop here? Why do you still talk about generalization, and more experiments? Why do you have to have a stress-growth law as you call it, sort of a constitutive equation squared?"

I offered Poiseuille as my excuse. I said, "Poiseuille knew that his paper No. 5 is his best. I still think that my next paper will be a better one. I am still experiencing my normal experience. My normal experience is something like this: A problem arises. It looks difficult. It is impossible to crack. I work on it day after day. I draw a blank. Then suddenly it becomes clear. It becomes simpler. Soon it is so simple that it is indeed trivial. I wonder why I did not see it before. So I throw the scratch paper into the waste paper basket. But the experience is pleasant. I call it life's little pleasure. I am still getting these little pleasures. But although the big one has not come, I like the little ones. That's the secret of my life I want to share with you.

Now I will conclude with sincere thanks to the Applied Mechanics Division for this heartwarming recognition from colleagues and friends. Thank you all, I wish you all the best.