Splashing of drops, frictional slip on a tectonic fault, cracking of drying paint and formation of biofilms, are all examples of fascinating and important phenomena that occur at interfaces. Understanding the physical processes that take place at interfaces is fundamental, but the physical details are often obscured by the bulk and are thus difficulty to study. The simultaneous contribution of processes occurring on many time scales and many length scales make computational approaches almost impossible and direct experiments very difficult. Most studies of interfaces focus on important processes occurring at or near equilibrium, yet often dynamics at interfaces under conditions that are far from equilibrium hold beautiful mysteries: The generation of a splash when a liquid drop impacts a surface, hydrodynamic and electro-hydrodynamic instabilities, friction and fracture, Laplacian growth and even the formation of biofilms are all interesting systems with both fundamental and technological importance. We are interested in understanding non-linear dynamics of mostly soft and liquid systems.
Swirling of Granular Media
The flow behavior of granular material is fascinating because under certain circumstances it behaves like a fluid while under other circumstances it behaves like a solid. Technical knowledge is important for the control of mixing, unmixing, release from storage, transport of goods ranging from powders to pills to gravel.
Aging and Memory in Disordered Systems
We are interested in the material properties that govern the scale, extent and morphology of hydraulic fractures in brittle materials. We aim to study fluid driven crack propagation in hydrogels, where the time scale of these fractures is slow enough that we can study the dynamics of the fracture as well.