Theoretical Solid Mechanics

We carry out research in elastic waves and vibrations in waveguides; the mathematical theory of nonlinear elasticity; structural vibrations induced by fluid flow; the mathematics of thin elastic layers; ground vibrations produced by high speed trains; and waves in multi-layered elastic media.

The subject of solid dynamics and elasticity theory has a surprisingly rich mathematical theory, which is put to use all the time in the computer codes which design aircraft,bridges, nuclear reactors, sky-scrapers, and indeed anything solid which we hope will not break, either under its own weight or under the impact of forces from air, water, or earthquakes. In the Mathematics Department at Keele, we have world authorities on this theory, who apply their mathematical knowledge every day in their research work on practical problems. >Much of our research involves waves supported by elastic media, for example the Rayleigh waves which transmit earthquake energy around the Earth, or waves in thin structures, which transmit much of the energy from machinery through metal surfaces and supports, to be radiated ultimately as sound. We carry out research on railway noise, both inside the carriages and generated by, for example, the friction between the wheels and the rails.

A subject related to wave generation is the theory of structural instability, of which a familiar type is buckling under load. We do advanced mathematical work on many types of structural instability, which often involve subtle nonlinear eff ects.

Many parts of the human body are elastic, for example the walls of blood vessels and the heart. Even solid parts of the body, such as bones, can be subject to extreme dynamical events, such as fracture. Thus elasticity and solid dynamics are major underpinning disciplines in our related theme of Biomechanics.

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