Research

Over the past 20 or so years, my research portfolio and trajectory has focused on three main types of problems.

The friction and interface mechanics work has focused largely on computational models, both high-order and low-order, for contact and interface phenomenon.  We have used boundary element methods, finite element methods, and low-order phenomenological models to describe various conditions of contact in multiple applications.  We are right now working on a “generalized” FEM approach to interface modeling.  The work is of keen interest to the aircraft engine industry as well as the nuclear weapons establishment.  The work has been funded by both industry and government sources.  This is really my core intellectual home and the subject of my research since the early 1990’s.

The biomechanics work has focused largely on using AFM indentation experiments to characterize mechanical properties of soft biomaterials.  We have developed a number of experimental techniques and data processes procedures to extract both elastic and viscoelastic information about materials with modulus in the <10 kPa range.  This work stemmed from the expertise my group developed in modeling contact and interface phenomena at the macro-scale.  I began working in this area around 2000.

The pedagogy and engineering education work has focused on web 2.0 tools and interventions and their value in higher education courses. Branded as HigherEd 2.0, we began the work in 2006, when blogs and podcasts were just emerging as consumer-friendly technologies.  Since then, this class of tools has been rebranded as “social media”, and my team has developed a set of best practices in the use of blog and video in higher education settings (specifically engineering education).  This research started around 2006 and continues today.

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