Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Mechanics and Computation Group Research

Main content start

Focus Areas

Computational mechanics

Computational mechanics is concerned with the development and application of computational methods based on the principles of mechanics. The field has had a profound impact on science and technology over the past three decades, effectively transforming much of classical Newtonian theory into practical and powerful tools for prediction and understanding of complex systems and for creating optimal designs.

Active research topics within our Group include development of new finite element methods (e.g. discontinuous Galerkin method), computational acoustics and fluid­structure interaction, algorithms for dynamical and transient transport phenomena, adaptive solution schemes using configurational forces, modeling the behavior of complex materials and biological tissues. The group is actively engaged in methods and algorithm development for high­performance computing including massively parallel computing. A recent emphasis is concerned with the coupling of techniques for analysis at the quantum, atomistic and continuum levels to achieve multi­scale modeling.

Multiphysics modeling

Multiphysics modeling arises from the need to model complex mechanical, physical and/or biological systems with functionalities dependent on interactions among chemical, mechanical and/or electronic phenomena. These systems are often characterized by wide ranges in time and length scales, which requires the development of technologies to describe and model, using numerical and mathematical techniques, the coupling between those scales with the goal of designing and/or optimizing new engineering devices.

Myriad applications exist ranging from novel molecular-scale devices based on nanotubes and proteins, to sensors and motors that operate under principles unique to the nanoscale. Computer simulation is playing an increasingly important role in nano­science research to identify the fundamental atomistic mechanisms that control the unique properties of nano­scale systems.

Computational bioengineering

Computational bioengineering is a quickly advancing field of research and is providing opportunities for major discoveries of both fundamental and technological importance in the coming years. The interface between biology and computational engineering will be one of the most fruitful research areas as the ongoing transformation of biology to a quantitative discipline promises an exciting phase of the biological revolution in which engineers, and especially those employing computation, will play a central role.

As physical models improve and greater computational power becomes available, simulation of complex biological processes, such as the biochemical signaling behavior of healthy and diseased cells, will become increasingly tractable. A particular challenge along these lines lies in the multiscale modeling of biomechanical phenomena bridging the gap between the discrete cell level and the continuous tissue level.

The potential scientific and technological impact of computational bioengineering can hardly be overstated. The group is playing an active part in this research effort at Stanford with current collaborative projects with the School of Medicine in areas such as the modeling of the mechanics of the ear and hearing, the eye and vision, growth and remodeling, simulation of proteins and mechanically gated ion channels, tissue engineering and stem cell differentiation.

Microscale mechanical measurements

Microscale devices for system monitoring and modeling are also used for measuring nanoscale mechanical behavior. In the Mechanics and Computation Group, we have a special interest in micro and nanoscale mechanical behavior, including material properties and the biomedical applications of nanofabricated devices.

Research includes developing diagnostic tools, measurement and analysis systems, and reliable manufacture methods. Active projects include piezoresistive force sensing and optimal processing, cell stimulation and force measurements, understanding the biological sense of touch, and silicon probes for microscopy and sensing.

BioMotion research

The primary mission of the BioMotion Laboratory is the study of normal and pathological musculoskeletal function, ultimately to improve the evaluation and treatment of disease and injury. Our research focuses on studying normal subjects and patients with an injury or disease, especially focusing on osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and ACL injury. We use motion analysis, medical imaging, functional testing and analysis of biomechanical markers in our studies. The group is also committed to developing improved methods for human motion analysis and expanding their clinical use.



The Mechanics and Computation Group has a Computational Mechanics Laboratory that provides an integrated computational environment for research and research-related education in computational mechanics and scientific computing. The laboratory houses Silicon Graphics, Sun and HP workstations and servers, including an eight-processor SGI Origin2000 and a 16-processor networked cluster of Intel-architecture workstations for parallel and distributed computing solutions of computationally intensive problems.

Software is available on the laboratory machines, including commercial packages for engineering analysis, parametric geometry and meshing, and computational mathematics. The laboratory supports basic research in computational mechanics as well as the development of related applications such as simulation-based design technology.

Learn more about our High Performance Computing Center.