We are a research group in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Monash University. We use modeling and computation to study the complex mechanical behaviour of soft matter. By definition, soft matter is matter that is deformed with forces that are comparable to those exerted by thermal fluctuations. We are particularly interested in (i) predicting complex flows of viscoelastic polymer solutions, (ii) propulsion and steering generated by flagella in sperm, (iii) the behaviour of active matter consisting of large populations of motile particles, and (iv) properties of chains and sheets of colloidal particles. Each of these systems is of immense practical importance. But they are not yet fully understood in the sense that their behaviour can be accurately predicted for engineering applications. Our purpose is to contribute to novel applications through predictive understanding of these systems.
This requires developing models based on insights from a broad range of fields such as fluid & solid mechanics, rheology, statisitical mechanics and thermodynamics. Computations with such models further require diverse numerical techniques ranging from methods used in continuum mechanics, to mesoscale techniques with stochastic noise, such as Brownian Dynamics, Dissipative Particle Dynamics etc. Understanding and interpreting simulation results requires analytical tools, such as stability analysis. We further work closely with other groups to design experiments test models and predictions. Often, we help with experimental quantification, developing, for example, image-analysis tools to quantify images and videos obtained using microscopy and other techniques.