Following the award of an EPSRC grant for the research project

Understanding a new buckling pattern of twisted inextensible strips

a 2-year postdoc position is available at UCL from 1 January 2008.

The grantholder and co-worker have recently derived new exact (ordinary differential) equations governing the equilibrium shapes of thin inextensible elastic sheets. Geometrically, this involves the study of developable surfaces. The equations have been used to solve the long-standing problem of finding the characteristic shape of a Möbius strip. The above project concerns the application of the equations to bending localisation phenomena such as crumpling, wrinkling and draping of elastic sheets. Of particular interest is the application to a recently discovered buckling pattern of twisted strips. Techniques used will come from Nonlinear Modelling, Numerical Continuation and Bifurcation Theory, Differential Geometry and Variational Analysis. Simple experimentation will accompany the theoretical work.

A better understanding of the structural stability and post-buckling behaviour of elastic sheets is relevant for the packaging industry, deployable structures and various other areas of science. Sheets and strips have for instance been observed in molecular biology and fabricated in nanotechnology. The grantholder has strong links with groups in these areas (for instance in the London Centre for Nanotechnology) and the research will be conducted with a close eye on developments in these fields.

The research will be carried out under the supervision of Gert van der Heijden in the Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. The Research Assistant will join an environment of active research into the nonlinear mechanics of such modern slender structures as space tethers, marine pipelines, supercoiled DNA molecules, nanostrips and collagen fibres (see for group's activities).

Applicants should have (or be about to complete) a PhD in Mathematics, Physics or Engineering, ideally with a strong Nonlinear Dynamics/Mechanics component. The starting salary will be 26,666 pounds plus 2,572 pounds London Allowance. To apply, please send a full CV and the names and addresses of two referees, together with the Equal Opportunities Classification Form (to be found at to Dr. Gert van der Heijden, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, UCL, preferably by e-mail ( and no later than 16 November 2007. Interviews will take place in December.

Page last updated: 3 October 2007.

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