Brown University School of Engineering

Mechanics of Solids Research

The mechanics of solids is an engineering science that is fundamental to thepractice of mechanical, civil, structural, and aeronautical engineering; it is also directly relevant to materials engineering, nanotechnology, biology, geophysics, and other branches of engineering and applied science. The Mechanics of Solids Group at Brown University fosters a balanced program of research and instruction that integrates the perspectives of continuum mechanics, structure of matter, and materials science. The program has a long tradition of leadership through innovations in the analytical, computational, and experimental concepts and methodologies that form the core of the field.

Some of the current research in the Solid Mechanics group includes:

  • The Micro and Nanoscale Behavior of Advanced Materials
  • The Mechanical Behavior of Soft Matter (e.g., gels, polymers) 
  • The Mechanics of Cells and Biological Systems (e.g., cell adhesion, endocytosis, traumatic brain injury) 
  • Multiscale Materials Modeling, Deformation and Failure of Thin Films and Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) 
  • The Mechanics and Failure Behavior of Batteries and Energy Storage Systems

Many of these research activities are part of the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) on Micro- and Nanomechanics of Electronic and Structural Materials and the General Motors Collaborative Research Laboratory (CRL) for Computational Materials Research.

The Group also operates and maintains the state-of-the-art Computational Mechanics Research Facility for use by its graduate students and faculty. Our faculty use theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches, and we maintain a close interactions with colleagues in applied mathematics, physics, material science, biomedical engineering and the Brown Alpert Medical School.


  • Allan Bower - tribology, fracture mechanics, microstructural modeling of materials, strength of contacting surfaces.
  • Janet Blume - finite deformation solid mechanics, constitutive equations.
  • Rodney Clifton - dynamic plasticity, dynamic fracture, phase transformations. 
  • Christian Franck - cell mechanics, physics of soft materials, 3D microscopy, micromechanics.
  • Huajian Gao - biomechanics, nanomechanics, mechanics of thin films, mechanics of hierarchical materials, fracture mechanics. 
  • Pradeep Guduru - experimental mechanics at micron and nanometer scales, micro-sensors, dynamic deformation and fracture.
  • David Henann - Theoretical and computational mechanics, granular materials, soft materials.
  • Haneesh Kesari - Analytical and experimental mechanics, structural biomaterials.
  • Kyung-Suk Kim - nano- and micro-mechanics of solids, adhesion, experimental mechanics. 
  • Tom Powers - viscous flows and cell motility; Mechanics of biological materials, membranes, filaments and cilia.