Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

Postdoctoral position in the modeling of soft materials with surface energies

created by kruzik on 03 Nov 2023

Deadline: 30 nov 2023

We are excited to announce an opportunity for dynamic and highly motivated postdoctoral candidates to join a newly established research group led by Dr. Martin Horák. These positions are supported by the ERC CZ program, which targets exceptional researchers positively evaluated by expert panels of the European Research Council (ERC) but not funded due to budget constraints. The positions also benefit from synergies with the CTU Global Postdoc Fellowship, a selective program that offers outstanding researchers who have recently completed their Ph.D. an opportunity to advance their research careers at the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague.

Our research group is dedicated to exploring the theoretical and computational aspects of soft materials with surface energies. Surface stress, a phenomenon that can significantly influence the behavior of soft solids, is the core of our investigations. While many previous studies have considered constant and isotropic surface stress in soft material responses, recent experimental evidence has shown that the behavior of soft surfaces is strain-dependent. This phenomenon presents both exciting opportunities and challenges that we will explore during your postdoctoral appointment.

As a postdoctoral researcher on our team, you will play a pivotal role in developing a novel, mathematically rigorous approach to describing soft materials with strain-dependent surface energies. Your work will also involve the development and study of models incorporating curvature-dependent surface energy, an aspect mostly overlooked in soft solids. Beyond these foundational research goals, there is room for tailoring your focus based on your research interests. Potential avenues of exploration include:

Modeling techniques of surface instabilities in soft materials with surface energies to open up new possibilities for the design of soft materials and devices at small scales. Investigation of theoretical questions related to the relationship between surface quasiconvexity, surface polyconvexity, and surface rank-one convexity, critical to establishing the appropriate mathematical framework for modeling such materials. Exploring the surface effects in soft solids on departures from established macroscale theories such as the Griffith theory of fracture, the Johnson–Kendall–Roberts adhesive theory, and the Eshelby theory of composites.