Sidebar: Joints modeling: A worldwide movement

September 2014
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Matthew Brake, a principal research scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, estimates that several thousand researchers worldwide are striving to improve how mechanical joints are modeled on computers.

Many work in laboratories led by 80 active members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Research Committee on the Mechanics of Jointed Structures, which Brake serves as secretary. These investigators collaborate at institutions across the world, including in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, Belgium, Turkey, Japan, and Brazil.

They also meet at workshops and conferences to develop research initiatives and share ideas and findings. And they attend special functions such as the Nonlinear Mechanics and Dynamics Research Institute hosted at Sandia this summer. Sandia also has published a “joints handbook” as a guide to the engineering community.

In Brake’s opinion, the most important contributors in the last decade have included Daniel Segalman, who recently retired from Sandia and now is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Larry Bergman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne; and David Ewins at Imperial College London. Ewins, Segalman and Bergman were all instrumental in starting international joints workshops.

Other principals would include Marc Mignolet at Arizona State University; Lothar Gaul at the University of Stuttgart; David Hills and David Nowell at Oxford University; Norbert Hoffman at the University of Hamburg and Imperial College London; and Muzio Gola at the University of Torino. Some of the next generation’s research leaders would include Sandia’s Michael Starr, Wisconsin’s Matt Allen, and Dan Brown, who has been leading the research efforts at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Sandia’s British equivalent.

Some of the international collaborators also work for other government research laboratories and for Rolls Royce, General Electric and Boeing.

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About the Author

Monte Basgall is a freelance writer and former reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Miami Herald and Raleigh News & Observer. For 17 years he covered the basic sciences, engineering and environmental sciences at Duke University.

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