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John M. Kolinski's blog

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PhD in mechanical engineering at EPFL

We have a fully-funded position for a PhD student in the EMSI lab, in mechanical engineering at EPFL, and are seeking qualified applicants. The thesis topic is: Crack front stability in 3D. Information about our lab can be found on our website at: Engineering Mechanics of Soft Interfaces ‐ EPFL


What we seek: 


John M. Kolinski's picture

PhD positions in mechanics EMSI @ EPFL

Fully-funded PhD position in EMSI lab at EFPL - flow and failure of soft materials

The focus of the thesis project is on the flow and failure mechanisms in soft materials. Whereas a comprehensive framework for understanding yield in crystalline materials has helped us to understand plastic deformation of metals for nearly a century, no comprehensive framework has been developed for soft materials. Indeed, yielding and failure mechanisms in soft materials are strongly tied to the failure of everyday materials, from soil and rocks to cosmetics and food, and are thus ubiquitous in our daily experience. A variety of experimental approaches will be used to study flow and failure in soft materials using elastomers and hydrogels as material models, including optical microscopy and x-ray tomography. Prior experience in these methods is not required. Some laboratory experience is preferred, as students will be in charge of the experiments from design of the apparatus to data processing and interpretation. Strong communication ability is necessary, as numerical modelling will be carried out in collaboration.

Interested candidates holding an MS degree in Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering or Physics are encouraged to apply to the EDME doctoral school in Lausanne. The application should indicate interest in joining the EMSI lab (, and candidates should submit a CV directly to Prof. John Kolinski (john.kolinski [at]

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Post-doctoral position in the Maddocks group at EPFL

Assistantship in the Maddocks group at the EPFL

A position is available to work on a combined analytical, numerical and experimental study of uniform elastic rods in two contexts:

1)  the characterisation of helical equilibria, including stability properties, in both the cases of self-avoiding and self-contacting configurations,


2) the equilibria of knots in the presence of friction.

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Description for ABAQUS Assignment

For my semester project, I will investigate equilibrium geometries of ripples in an elastic sheet. In order to do so, I will need to learn how to study out of plane bending of a thin membrane with ABAQUS. The project can be divided into the following stages:

1. Set up the membrane geometry model in ABAQUS

2. Apply relevant boundary conditions and tractions

3. Set up the job

4. Run the job, and post-process

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Solids Textbooks

      The texts from Timoshenko and Landau and Lifschitz are classics. I think learning the physical approach of L&L is particularly valuable. The following sections are available in L&L:

 1. Fundamental Equations

 2. Equilibrium of Rods and Plates

3. Elastic Waves

4. Thermal Conduction and Viscosity in Solids

Look for insightful physical explanations, and expect to read with a pen and paper at your side, to understand exactly the brilliance behind each statement made.

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Solution to PS 2.6

My previous exposure to solid mechanics is tangential beyond a first semester course in beam bending, beam stretching, and beam torsion. I am a master of Mohr's circle, and am looking to extend my practice in solid mechanics to include interesting problems and applications of the theory of solids.

I studied Engineering Mechanics as an undergraduate, and received a second degree in Mathematics, with a concentration in Applied Math.

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