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PhD Subject : Elastic instabilities in time-dependent soft structures (M/W)

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : vendredi 27 mai 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR6613-SANCHA-016
Workplace : LE MANS
Date of publication : Friday, May 6, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : Maxime LANOY and François PETRELIS
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The objective of this project is to address the dynamic aspects of mechanical instabilities occurring in soft structures. A soft beam (picture) will be mechanically excited with a parametric forcing, in order to trigger a Faraday instability. The first challenge will be to characterize the instability threshold.

Several further developments are possible. For example, we will try to control the elastic modulus of the elastomer by loading it with iron particles and applying an external magnetic field. This will provide us with a tool to inhibit or, on the contrary, trigger the instability. It will also be possible to study the motion of an elastic perturbation near the instability threshold.

Understanding the motion of soft structures is crucial for the development of applications ranging from energy harvesting to the actuation of soft robots. The implementation of an unstable self-propelled robot prototype (e.g. an artificial swimmer) could be considered.

The PhD student will be required to rapidly develop skills in modeling and experimentation. The experiments will involve sample preparation (molding and realization of flexible structures), image acquisition, particle tracking and signal processing. The PhD student will also participate in the writing of scientific publications and will travel to present his/her results at national and international conferences.

This project is of a mutlidisciplinary nature. It will involve concepts from the fields of soft matter physics, nonlinear system dynamics, wave physics and life sciences. It will be a new opportunity to demonstrate the fertility of an interface approach.

Work Context

3-year full-time PhD contract at the Laboratoire d'Acoustique de l'Université du Mans (LAUM - Le Mans) and the Laboratoire de Physique de l'École Normale Supérieure (LPENS - Paris).

The LAUM is a recognized laboratory in the fields of Acoustics and Wave Physics. The LPENS is an international reference in the field of non-linear physics. The PhD student will be required to work in both environments.

This project is part of a collaboration with the Laboratoire de Physique de l'École Normale Supérieure (LPENS) in Paris. Consequently, the PhD student will have the possibility to travel between the two sites. The thesis is financed by a CNRS grant (80PRIME).

Constraints and risks

The PhD student will conduct research activities in experimental physics. A training course on "electrical risks and safety" will probably be offered. Furthermore, professional travel to Paris/Le Mans and abroad is to be expected.

Additional Information

The candidate should have a master's degree, ideally in Physics, but also possibly in Mechanics, Engineering or Applied Mathematics.

He/she should be motivated by the prospect of conducting experimental research in fundamental physics and have a great curiosity as well as a willingness to acquire new knowledge at the interface between several disciplines. Autonomy, initiative and fluency in English will be particularly useful.

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