Thin sheets as condensed matter

Thin sheets as condensed matter
Suraj Shankar, Harvard University
Suraj Shankar
Date and time: Thu, Apr 28, 2022 - 11:30am
Location: LGRT1033
Category: Condensed Matter Seminar

Thin elastic sheets display a stunning array of complex morphologies, instabilities and dynamics across scales, from crumpled paper and ruffled leaves to atomically thin graphene. Like in traditional condensed matter, such "collective" phenomena often emerge on large scales, only now through an interplay of geometry and mechanics rather than microscopic material properties. In this talk I will show how a geometric focus allows thin sheets to be fruitfully viewed as condensed matter, exhibiting simple analogies with electrostatics and phase transitions to more exotic ones like topological insulators. I will highlight the benefit and consequences of this approach to recent efforts in mechanical metrology and the design of ultrathin nanodevices and mechanical metamaterials.