Portrait of Zhang, Yang

Yang Zhang

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Our research can be summarized in two words: Matter and Machine. On the Matter side, Z lab studies far-from-equilibrium physics. They synergistically combine and push the boundaries of statistical and stochastic thermodynamic theories, accelerated molecular simulations, understandable AI/ML/DS methods, and neutron scattering experiments, with the goal of significantly extending our understanding of a wide range of long timescale phenomena and rare events. Particular emphasis is given to the physics and chemistry of liquids and complex fluids, especially at interfaces, driven away from equilibrium, or under extreme conditions. On the Machine side, leveraging their expertise in materials and modeling, his group advances the development of soft robots and human-compatible machines, swarm robots and collective intelligence, and robots in extreme environments, which can lead to immediate societal impact.

Estéfan Garcia

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Prof. Garcia’s primary research interests are in the realm of granular materials and granular systems. Granular and particulate materials represent some of the most commonly manipulated materials in our society. A fundamental understanding of their behavior at the scale of individual grains or particles has wide-ranging benefits in several fields including civil engineering, geology, additive manufacturing, and planetary exploration. Prof. Garcia uses advanced numerical modeling techniques that can simulate large-strain behavior while also capturing directly the fundamental discontinuous nature of granular systems. His simulations rely on high-performance computing to simulate the interactions of millions of grains within a particle assemblage as the entire mass undergoes large-strain deformation due to phenomena such as earthquake surface fault rupture and trapdoor displacement. This approach allows us to model phenomena at the near-surface such as liquefaction or larger-scale phenomena such as tectonic deformations. The focus on individual particles elucidates the influence of depositional history and soil fabric on the deformation behavior of soils. This line of research advances understanding of how ground surface deformations can impact infrastructure and ultimately aims to improve the resiliency of infrastructure against geologic hazards.

X-ray tomography scan of an intact naturally deposited shoal sample with individual grains labelled and colorized.

Hugo Casquero

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Hugo Casquero is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at University of Michigan – Dearborn. His research is focused on developing accurate, robust, and efficient computational methods and using them to solve a myriad of open problems in fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, fluid-structure interaction, biomechanics, and multiphysics. The overarching theme of the computational methods that Dr. Casquero develops is to solve partial differential equations exploiting the new advantages that splines bring to computational mechanics. Dr. Casquero is particularly interested in developing computational frameworks for real-world applications in which experimental measurement of the quantities of interest is too costly or not currently available. Current research activities in his group include achieving a seamless integration between design and analysis of thin-walled structures, studying the dynamics of vesicles, capsules, red blood cells, and droplets under different types of flow, and developing structure-preserving spline discretizations of magnetohydrodynamics to solve problems in fusion energy.

animation of a crash simulation plotting von Mises stress

Crash simulation plotting von Mises stress. A discretization of Kirchhoff-Love shells based on analysis-suitable T-splines is used. This simulation includes elastoplastic material behavior, fracture criteria, contact algorithms, and spot-weld modeling. Material failure takes place around the largest hole of the B-pillar.  

Yin Lu (Julie) Young

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Yin Lu (Julie) Young is a Professor in the department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Her research focuses on the dynamic fluid-structure interaction response and stability of smart/adaptive multi-functional marine structures such as marine propulsors, turbines and control surfaces. One of her research focus is the fluid-structure interaction response and stability of marine and coastal structures. She is the current director of the Aaron Friedman Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory. Her research has been supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Shasha Zou

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Shasha Zou is an Associate Professor of Climate and Space Science and Engineering. Her general research interest is about studying the dynamic interaction between the Sun’s extended atmosphere, i.e., solar wind, and the near-Earth space environment. In particular, she is interested in the physical processes of formation and evolution of ionospheric structures and their impact on technology, such as global navigation and communication satellite system (GNSS), during space weather disturbances using multi-instrument observations and numerical models. Numerical models often used include magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model of the global magnetosphere, and physics-based global ionosphere and thermosphere model.


Global ionosphere total electron content distribution and the plasma convection contours from BATSRUS model.

Yulin Pan

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Yulin Pan is an Assistant Professor in the department of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical and ocean engineering from MIT in 2016, with a minor in mathematics. His research is primarily concerned with theoretical and computational hydrodynamics, with applications in ocean engineering and science. He has made original contributions in nonlinear ocean wave mechanics, tidal flows, propeller and bio-inspired foil propulsion. Alongside research, he is also an active writer on popular science of fluid mechanics. His active research topics include:

  • Theoretical, computational and experimental investigations to understand the fundamental physics of wave turbulence
  • Prediction and understanding of nonlinear ocean and coastal wave phenomenon
  • Response of ships and offshore structures in wave field
  • Development of computation and optimization methods for propellers and flapping foils
  • Propagation of internal waves/tides at geophysical scales

Rohini Bala Chandran

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Rohini Bala Chandran is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her research focuses on developing computational models integrated with experimental analyses to probe the interplay of heat and mass transfer, fluid flow, and chemical reactions that play a central role in a host of thermal, thermochemical, and electrochemical energy systems. Her group leverages high-performance computing to understand coupled transport and kinetic phenomena, and to perform multi-parameter optimization to design and operate efficient devices for energy conversion and storage. Current research activities in her group focus on solar fuels from water and carbon dioxide, thermal energy storage at high temperatures, and wastewater treatment.

Temperature distributions in a solar thermochemical reactor for water and carbon dioxide splitting predicted by computational modeling.

Yue Fan

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Yue Fan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The primary research interest in his group is to provide a substantive knowledge on the mechanics and micro-structural evolution in complex materials systems under extreme environments via predictive modeling. In particular, they focus on describing highly disordered systems (such as glasses, grain boundaries, etc) from the perspective of potential energy landscape (PEL), and correlating materials properties with their underlying PEL structures. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the development of new science-based high performance materials with novel functions and unprecedented strength, durability, and resistance to traditional degradation and failure.

Evgueni Filipov

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Evgueni Filipov is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research interests lie in the field of deployable and reconfigurable structural systems. Folding and adaptable structures based on the principles of origami can have practical applications ranging in scale and discipline from biomedical robotics to deployable architecture.

His research is focused on developing computational tools that can simulate mechanical and multi-physical phenomena of deployable structures. The analytical models incorporate folding kinematics along with local and global phenomenological behaviors. Prof. Filipov uses finite element and  constitutive modeling to better understand how geometry affects elastic deformations and other physical properties of the deployable and adaptable structures. He is interested in optimization of such systems and large scale parametric studies to explore the design space and potential applications of the systems.

Elastic deformations of a deployable origami tubes (Filipov et al. PNAS 2015)

Elastic deformations of a deployable origami tubes (Filipov et al. PNAS 2015)

Angela Violi

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Angela Violi is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and adjunct faculty in Chemical Engineering, Biophysics, Macromolecular Science and Engineering, and Applied Physics. The research in the group of Violi is focused on the application of statistical mechanics and computational methods to chemically and physically oriented problems in nanomaterials and biology. The group investigates the formation mechanisms of nanomaterials for various applications, including energy and biomedical systems, and the dynamics of biological systems and their interactions with nanomaterials.