The Next Frontier in Composite Mechanics

Friday, August 25, 3:15 pm
Sidney & Marian Green Classroom (3550 MEK)
Meet & Greet Reception to follow at 4:15 pm
Free and open to the public

Daniel O. Adams, Ph.D.
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University of Utah

Abstract: Fiber-reinforced composite materials are being used increasingly in a wide variety of applications, due primarily to their high stiffness and strength coupled with their low density. These properties make composites an excellent candidate for use in the transportation industry where reduced weight leads to increased fuel efficiency. Somewhat surprisingly, the brittle fracture behavior of polymer matrix composites such as carbon/epoxy can be utilized to produce very high energy absorption during crushing, making these composites of great interest for crashworthiness. However, the degree of composite crashworthiness is dependent on proper laminate design to produce high energy absorbing failures as well as structural design to produce a stable crush front. In many respects, the mechanics of composite crashworthiness may be considered as the next frontier, since the current research thrust towards developing predictive capabilities for composite strength serves as the starting point for simulating crush behavior and designing composites for crashworthiness.

crashworthinessThis seminar overviews the current state of the art in the mechanics of composite crashworthiness, highlighting the work of the author and his students in the development of test methods to assess composite crashworthiness, composite laminate design for energy absorption, and the development of crashworthy sandwich composites for use in automotive applications.


Bio: Dr. Daniel O. Adams is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. He obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming in 1981, an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 1983, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 1991. He is the recipient of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 1999, and the University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007. Dr. Adams’ research focuses on the mechanics of composite materials and structures, including test method development, composite damage assessment, and crashworthiness.