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Research Interests

Dr. Gerrit Vliegenthart

Crumpling of thin elastic sheets  

The deformation of thin elastic sheets is a fundamental problem with many practical applications to different physical and biological systems. Among these systems are macroscopic materials extending from thin steel plates via thin rubber films to paper sheets, mesoscopic materials like clay platelets, the membrane of biological cells and giant vesicles, but also microscopic materials like virus particles and carbon nano-tubes.

Using computer simulations we investigated the effect of self-avoidance on the shapes, mechanical properties and fold length distributions of crumpled elastic sheets.

(G. A. Vliegenthart & G. Gompper

Buckling of virus capsids  



The genome of a virus is contained in a protective cage known as the viral capsid. A viral capsid has a remarkably regular structure and is built up from a fixed number of copies of a single or a few kinds of capsid protein. Its geometry is that of an icosahedron or a helical cylinder, but more complex structures also exist. We investigate the mechanical properties of icosahedral virus shells by computer simulations. We predict the elastic response for small deformations, and the buckling transitions at large deformations which depend both strongly on the number of elementary building blocks, the shear and bending elasticity of the shell and the confining geometry.

(G. A. Vliegenthart & G. Gompper