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Cellular Solids

Learn how to model the mechanical properties of honeycombs and foams and to apply the models to material selection in engineering design.

Cellular Solids
start date
length
15 weeks
effort
8-12 hours per week
price
$149

About this course

In this engineering course, we will explore the processing and structure of cellular solids as they are created from polymers, metals, ceramics, glasses and composites.

We will begin the course by deriving models for the mechanical properties of honeycombs and foams, and we will discover how the unique properties of these materials can be exploited in applications such as lightweight structural panels, energy absorption devices, and thermal insulation.

Next, we will explore cellular solids in medicine, including trabecular bone mechanics, the increased risk of bone fracture due to trabecular bone loss in patients with osteoporosis, the development of metal foam coatings for orthopedic implants, applying foam models to tissue engineering scaffolds and the design of a porous scaffold for tissue engineering that mimics the body's own extracellular matrix.

Finally, we will explore sandwich structures and cellular solids that occur in nature, and we will consider examples of engineering design inspired by natural materials.

What you’ll learn

  • How to model the mechanical behavior of honeycombs and foams
  • Application of the models in devices for energy absorption and sandwich panels
  • How cellular solids are made
  • Applications of cellular solids in medicine
  • Examples of engineering design inspired by natural cellular solids

Prerequisites

Mechanics of Materials (3.032x Parts 1, 2, and 3) or similar

Meet your instructors

  • Lorna Gibson

    Professor Lorna Gibson graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. She was an Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia for two years before moving to MIT where she is currently the Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research interests focus on the mechanics of materials with a cellular structure such as engineering honeycombs and foams, natural materials such as wood, palm and bamboo and medical materials such as trabecular bone and tissue engineering scaffolds. She is the co-author of Cellular Solids: Structure and Properties (with MF Ashby) and of Cellular Materials in Nature and Medicine (with MF Ashby and BA Harley). Recent projects include aerogels for thermal insulation; nanofibrillar cellulose foams; and the mechanics of plant materials. At MIT, she has served as Chair of the Faculty and Associate Provost.

  • Jessica Sandland

    Jessica Sandland is a Lecturer in the Department of Material Science and Engineering and an MITx Digital Learning Scientist. Jessica leads online learning initiatives in DMSE, creating MOOCs and designing blended courses for MIT students. She has coordinated the development of a wide variety of DMSE’s online courses.

Who can take this course?

Because of U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) restrictions and other U.S. federal regulations, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea and the Crimea, Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic regions of Ukraine.