Structural Mechanics

Structural mechanics research focuses on the development of analytical, computational, and experimental methods that aim to address new requirements for aerospace structures by exploiting advances in design, manufacturing, materials, actuators, and control systems. Our general approach is to define broad research questions and to develop general solution methods that are then demonstrated by solving specific example problems. Specific areas of interest are space structures and deployable structures. A large-scale effort on structures for space solar power applications is underway as part of the Space Solar Power Project. Examples of current research include: packaging of membranes, novel concepts for ultralight deployable spacecraft structures, stability of thin shells, stability of pressurized envelopes and wrinkling, deployment dynamics, failure criteria for composite thin shells, mechanically reconfigurable antennas, and adaptive mirrors. Another effort involves the analysis of performance of Civil engineering structures and gravitational earth systems (e.g. on-land and under-water landslides) when these are subjected to earthquake excitations. This part is closely related to solid mechanics research conducted at GALCIT’s Laboratory Earthquake and Tsunami Facilities, where model earthquakes are used to generate and scale up these excitations.


Ares J. Rosakis
Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering

Sergio Pellegrino
Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aerospace and Civil Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist; Co-Director, Space-Based Solar Power Project