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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Design of Adaptive Materials for Sensing, Actuation and Physical Computing


Materials & Manufacturing, RX/Soft Matter Materials

RO# Location
13.25.04.C0582 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337817


Name E-mail Phone
Buskohl, Philip 937.474.0786


Movement and shape change are key enablers for living systems to sense, assess and respond to environmental stimuli. For example, actuating mechanisms are utilized in natural systems for diverse operations, such as arms and legs for locomotion, skin wrinkling for camouflage, or multistable snapping to catch prey. In addition, shape change and mechanical deformation of adaptive materials can also be leveraged as to source of computation, augmenting the loading bearing function of the structure to assess and pre-process state information of the local environment. Mapping these behaviors to synthetic systems is highly desirable for applications such as morphing aircraft, agile robotics and in materio computing, however robust design tools and adaptive material model systems are needed to interpret, program, and demonstrate these concepts. This research topic sits at the interface of soft matter responsive and adaptive materials, computational design, and information theory/machine learning. Potential key computational challenges to address include navigation of non-convex design spaces with limited function evaluations, construction of methods that leverage all available understanding of the problem physics and search history, and novel sampling methods to leverage the mismatch in computational cost between different physics simulations. Key experimental challenges include the development adaptive materials model systems that combine diverse environmental stimuli and identify how to physically embed and read out the current state. 

Gillman, A. S., Fuchi, K., and Buskohl, P.R. "Discovering sequenced origami folding through nonlinear mechanics and topology optimization." Journal of Mechanical Design 141.4 (2019): 041401.

Treml, B.E, Gillman, A.S., Buskohl, P.R., Vaia, R.A. “Origami Mechanologic”, PNAS, 2018, 201805122

Yasuda, H., Buskohl, P. R., Gillman, A., Murphey, T. D., Stepney, S., Vaia, R. A., & Raney, J. R. (2021). "Mechanical computing". Nature, 598(7879), 39-48. 

topology optimization; multifunction materials; multistability; neural networks; additive manufacturing


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$76,542.00 $4,000.00

$3,000 Supplement for Doctorates in Engineering & Computer Science

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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