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California Institute of Technology Graduate Aerospace Laboratories California Institute of Technology Prof. Ortiz Research Group

Research Interests and Projects

Our group's interest lies in understanding and modeling the behavior of materials and structures across length and time scales, ranging from atomistic to macroscopic, and over a variety of conditions, from quasistatic to extremes of pressure, temperature and rate of deformation. We are particularly interested in multiscale aspects of material behavior and the structure/property relation, including the development and evolution of microstructure during deformation and its role in shaping the macroscopic response of materials and structures.

We are also interested in understanding the limits of usability of materials, e.g., formability limits, failure mechanisms, fatigue life prediction, plastic deformation, fracture and fragmentation, material and structural instabilities, and others. From a methodological point of view, our group is interested in mathematical and computational methods enabling the application of high-fidelity multiscale material models to engineering systems, with a particular view to predicting their behavior under operational conditions with quantified uncertainties. Modern nonlinear analysis and high-performance computing are two disciplines that we have found particularly useful in that regard and that have provided, and continue to provide, the basis and the focus for much of our work 


Research Sponsors

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of our research by the following sponsors:
  • Airforce Office of Scientific Research through the grant Hierarchical theoretical methods for understanding and predicting anisotropic thermal transport and energy release in rocket propellant
    formulations (PI: Sewell)
  • U.S. Department of Energy through Caltech's Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program Center for the Predictive Modeling and Simulation of High-Energy Density Dynamic Response of Materials (PI: M. Ortiz)
  • DARPA through the grant Surviving Contact: A Revolutionary Approach to Controlling the Energy Pathways in Armor Ceramics (PI: K.T. Ramesh)
  • U.S. Army Research Laboratory through the Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments Collaborative Research Alliance (University lead PI: K.T. Ramesh)
  • Office of Naval Research through the grant Ballistic Impact of Polyurea Rods on Glass Plates (PI: Ortiz)
  • PIRE (Partnerships for International Research and Education) project