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Collective instability of micro- and nanoscale structures

Ziguang Chen, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Engineering objects or systems with a very small size in dimension can have strikingly different mechanical properties from their bulk counterparts found in our everyday lives. Furthermore, when the spacing or distance among these small structures is also small, weak interactions that are usually ignored can play an important role. For these reasons, collective behaviors or properties of small structures are considered in this thesis. The bulk of this thesis is devoted to the exploration of new ways to analyze the collective instability in nanometer and micrometer scale structures, including beams, columns, and spheres. At such a scale, it can be shown that the surrounding media brings about significant effects. For instance, the deformation of one object could trigger the deformation of the media, which further affects the other neighboring objects; nontrivial forces between closely spaced bodies, e.g., van der Waals, lead to exotic dynamic behaviors to the final assembly. Chapter 1 provides a general background on instability studies in nanometer and micrometer scale structures. Chapter 2 gives examples on how to analyze collective buckling of a two-dimensional array of nanoscale columns with their lower ends built into an elastic substrate. From this, the model was extended into a molecular type of multi-stacks or lamellae to explain the findings of a two dimensional (2D) hierarchical buckling. In Chapter 3, further consideration was given to the elastic deformation in the small objects instead of simply treating them as rigid ones in Chapter 2. Following these theoretical analyses, Chapter 4-6 investigates the assembly of sphere-like particles, including the mechanical property of particle-fibers as well as the buckling of particle-composed bi-layers. The final Chapter lays out theoretical questions and directions that can be used for future research. It is the hope that presenting this thesis partially fills a knowledge gap concerning the instability or dynamic behaviors of important nanometer and micrometer scale structures.

Subject Area

Mechanics|Physical chemistry|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Chen, Ziguang, "Collective instability of micro- and nanoscale structures" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3542342.