Many asteroids are made up of smaller, gravitationally bound fragments. These 'rubble pile' asteroids can be view as self-gravitating granular matter. In this study such asteroids are modelled as an N-body system of soft spheres. The overall elastic behavior of a granular material is an emergent property of the system. One of the goals of this study is to see if an asteroid's elastic/'acoustic' response to a soft impact can be used to learn more about its constitution. This is in some ways similar to the way in which spectroscopic analysis of chemical molecules can be used to reveal their structure and similar methods like normal mode analysis of the asteroid structure are being applied.
Soft Matter - studies in preparation:
- Self-healing materials for protection of space structures against micro-meteroids.
- (Electro-)Active polymers as low complexity actuators ('artificial muscles').
- Origami and pop-up fabrication.
- Self-assembly of well defined mesoscopic structures.