Current areas of interests include:

Modeling and Design of Origami Structures: Origami principles offer novel approaches to the deployment, assembly, manufacturing, and functionality of structures in multiple fields such as aerospace, mechanical, and biomedical engineering.  Computational design methods for such structures become essential as the complexity of their geometry and materials continues to increase.  This research area aims to develop the rules and computational algorithms to determine the fold layout in origami sheets to perform a function such as achieving a goal shape.  Origami principles are extended for the consideration of complex material behavior and higher-order geometric continuity conditions at the folds.




Morphing Aerospace Structures: This research entails the modeling, design, and testing of novel concepts for aerospace structures with lightweight and aerodynamic efficient properties. A representative example shown below shows the concept of a wing with an internal tensegrity structure that does not require control surfaces for morphing. A senior design project team has also built and tested prototypes of this novel wing concept. 


Tensegrity Structures and Materials: In this area, we use of tensegrity principles (pre-stressable trusses) for the design of materials and structural components of minimal mass and practical properties such as custom stiffness and thermal expansion.  Structural applications include: self-tunable antennas, planetary landers, and space habitats.  We aim to models for the statics and dynamics of these structures that account for arbitrary materials arbitrarily large deformations.  The scope of this research ranges from algebraic models for self-similar tensegrities to general matrix-based models for efficient simulation of tensegrity structures with arbitrary geometry and topology.



Deployable Structures: This topic entails the simulation, design, and control of applications with the requirement of deploying from a compact configuration to a large configuration (e.g., deployable antennas).  We look at different types of deployment strategies inspired by Nature and arts.  The goal is find generalized methods that can be used to design deployable structures for arbitrary shapes (given by application) and have optimal properties such as minimum actuating and sensing requirements.


Active-material-enabled Morphing of Truss, Beam, Plate, and Shell Structures: This topic studies structures with self-morphing capabilities obtained via conversion of thermal/electromagnetic/chemical energies into mechanical work enabled by their active material components (shape memory alloys/polymers, hydrogels).  This research aims to model the kinematics and kinetics governing the motion of these structures.  Control approaches of these structures are also explored.  Models for such structures are developed through various routes ranging from analytical approaches to high-fidelity finite element analysis.  Size, shape, and topology optimization techniques are used to determine the geometry and material distribution that allows these structures to have characteristics such as minimum energy usage and minimum mass.