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ASME Congress 13-19 November 2009, Florida

The 2009 ASME Congress starts this weekend.  You can find the schedule of the meetings of all the committees (326KB pdf).  This note lists a few special events. 

Monday, 16 November, 8:00 am to 9:30 am. Plenary Session in Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids

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Lectures on Soft Active Materials, 2nd edition

In May 2008, I posted 3 lectures on Soft Active Materials given at UCSB.  I have since given similar lectures on other occasions, but never all three at the same place.  The field has been active.  The lectures have been updated with new items.  I’m now posting the “2nd edition” of these lectures.

  • Dielectric elastomers
  • Neutral gels
  • Polyelectrolyte gels
  • pH-sensitive gels 

The slides are posted as delivered.  No effort is made to eliminate repeating slides. 

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iMechanica has over 16,000 registered users

The number of registered users of iMechanica passed 16,000 early today.  The the number of posts passed 6,900, and that of comments, 12,500. 

iMechanica was founded in September, 2006, with the mission:

  1. to use the Internet to enhance communication among mechanicians
  2. to pave a way to evolve online all knowledge of mechanics

I quote what I wrote when the number of registered user passed 1000 in early 2007:

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Haythornthwaite Grants for Students to Attend ASME IMECE 2009

With a generous gift from the Haythornthwaite Foundation, the ASME Applied Mechanics Division will award grants to students presenting their own work at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE 2009).  The grant will reimburse travel expenses and registration fees, up to $1,000 per student, for up to 10 students.

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Mechanics Genealogy

Leonhard Euler has 5 students and 56,850 academic descendents.  They are all listed by the Mathematics Genealogy Project.  Euler himself was a student of Johann Bernoulli, and produced a student named Joseph Louis Lagrange, who in turn produced Fourier and Poisson.  No wonder Euler has so many descendents by now. 

For some time I have been thinking how we can organize a project to trace the genealogy of all mechanicians.  It will be fun.  It may even teach us some history of mechanics. 

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ASME Applied Mechanics Division Seeks Nominations for Awards

You can download a pdf file of this announcement.

The Applied Mechanics Division, of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, seeks nominations for the awards listed below. All the awards are international.  Neither the nominee nor the nominator need be a member of the ASME.  Further descriptions of the awards are given at

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A course on Advanced Elasticity, with emphasis on thermodynamics and soft active materials

In the field of Solid Mechanics, Harvard has a sequence of 5 graduate courses:

The first course goes over linear elasticity, finite element method, vibration, waves, viscoelasticity, as well as some ideas of finite deformation.

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Learning temperature, pressure, and chemical potential

I have updated sections of my notes on thermodynamics.  A few thoughts on learning are collected here.  Of our world the following facts are known:

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Finite Deformation: Special Cases

The notes on finite deformation have been divided into two parts: special cases and general theory (node/538). In class I start with special cases, and then sketch the general theory. But the two parts can be read in any order.

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Free Energy

For a system in thermal contact with the rest of the world, we have described three quantities: entropy, energy, and temperature. We have also described the idea of a constraint internal to the system, and associated this constraint to an internal variable.

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Evolving small structures

I taught this course at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in Winter 1994, Winter 1995, Spring 1996; at Princeton, Spring 2003; at Harvard, Spring 2004.  The notes posted here are those distributed to the class in Spring 2004.


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We describe ratcheting plastic deformation in a thin-film structure

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electric field-induced self-assembly

We describe an example of self-assembly driven by electric field

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Surface stress driven self-assembly

We introduce surface stress, and show how it might drive self-assembly.

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Strain-induced self-assembly

Semiconductor particles in the size rage 1-100 nm have special optoelectronic properties dictated by the quantum mechanics of the potential well. These particles are known as quantum dots. Fabricating structures in this size range has been a great challenge of our time. Self-assembly has become an attractive method to fabricate quantum dots. By 1990, it was known that when Ge was deposited on Si substrate, cube on cube, the Ge film is flat up to a few monolayers, and then forms three-dimensional islands.

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In service, an interconnect line carries an intense electric current. The conduction electrons impact metal atoms, and motivate the atoms to diffuse in the direction of electron flow. The process, known as electromigration, has been the most menacing and persistent threat to interconnect reliability.

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Stress-Induced Voiding in Interconnects

Early aluminum lines had the width much larger than the thickness. They behaved like blanket films. When narrow aluminum lines were introduced, in early 1980s, with the width comparable to the thickness, voids were observed in such narrow interconnects on wafers held in ovens, or even on wafers left on shelves at room temperature. The voids may sever the interconnects.

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Grain growth

A polycrystal, held at temperature for some time t, the average grain diameter grows. A grain grows at the expense of its neighbors: small grains disappear and big ones get bigger. Total number of atoms is conserved.

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Grain Boundary Cavitation

Hull and Rimmer (1959) studied grain boundary cavitation. Small voids were observed at grain boundaries, particularly those transverse to the applied tensile stress. Fracture results from the growth and coalescence of these voids.

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Rayleigh Instability

Rayleigh (1878) examined a common experience: a thin jet of liquid is unstable and breaks into droplets. When a jet is thin enough, the effect of gravity is negligible compared to surface energy. The jet changes its shape to reduce the total surface energy. Liquid flow sets the time.


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