Hutchens Research Group

Our group connects mesoscale behaviors of soft materials with their macroscopic mechanical response.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
Marie Curie

Our goal is to understand and leverage the behavior of non-linear materials capable of large deformation. These include soft solids such as elastomers and gels and extend to cellular solids such as foams, vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, and plant tissues. Through our approach of spanning  length scales from the super-molecular (> 100 nm) to the macroscopic (cm-m), we will provide new insights into both biological tissues and their synthetic analogs through quantification of shape change and failure.

Research Projects


Evaporation-driven creasing in a liquid-filled cavity within an elastomer.

We aim to apply lessons learned from observing simplified soft-solid fluid composite systems to the development of phyto-inspired actuators and active structures.

Funding: National Science Foundation CAREER Award, CMMI MOMS

Soft fracture via localized loading

We are exploring a suite of puncture and cutting-based test methods for the evaluation of ultrasoft failure behavior. The aim is rapid, high-throughput, and in vivo characterization of soft solids including biological tissue.

Funding: National Science Foundation, CMMI MOMS

Supporting Funding Agencies