Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar

Please note that the list below only shows forthcoming events, which may not include regular events that have not yet been entered for the forthcoming term. Please see the past events page for a list of all seminar series that the department has on offer.

Past events in this series
Davide Riccobelli

Further Information: 

Davide Riccobelli is a researcher in Mathematical Physics at the MOX Laboratory, Dipartimento di Matematica
Politecnico di Milano. His research interests are in the field of Solid Mechanics. He is interested in the mathematical and physical modelling of biological tissues and soft active materials. You can read his work here.


 In this talk, we show some recent results related to the study of mechanical instabilities in slender structures. First, we propose a model of metamaterial sheets inspired by the pellicle of Euglenids, unicellular organisms capable of swimming due to their ability of changing their shape. These structures are composed of interlocking elastic rods which can freely slide along their edges. We characterize the kinematics and the mechanics of these structures using the special Cosserat theory of rods and by assuming axisymmetric deformations of the tubular assembly. We also characterize the mechanics of a single elastic beam constrained to smoothly slide along a rigid support, where the distance between the rod midline and the constraint is fixed and finite. In the presence of a straight support, the rod can deform into shapes exhibiting helices and perversions, namely transition zones connecting together two helices with opposite chirality.

Finally, we develop a mathematical model of damaged axons based on the theory of continuum mechanics and nonlinear elasticity. In several pathological conditions, such as coronavirus infections, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, the physiological shape of axons is altered and a periodic sequence of bulges appears. The axon is described as a cylinder composed of an inner passive part, called axoplasm, and an outer active cortex, composed mainly of F-actin and able to contract thanks to myosin-II motors. Through a linear stability analysis, we show that, as the shear modulus of the axoplasm diminishes due to the disruption of the cytoskeleton, the active contraction of the cortex makes the cylindrical configuration unstable to axisymmetric perturbations, leading to a beading pattern.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
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