Connor  McMahan

Connor McMahan

Scholar Title

MIT SoE — Lord Foundation Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

The effect of curvature on the fracture paths of torn thin elastic shells




Pedro Miguel Reis


The fracture of thin shell structures, especially the crack propagation pathways, is an area in Mechanics that remains largely unexplored. The goal of this project is to perform a systematic series of precision experiments towards gaining physical insight on how the curvature of a thin shell dictates the crack path during tearing. Custom shells will be fabricated with a variety of geometries and the resulting fracture paths upon tearing will be analyzed by 3D digital scanning. Our experimental results will inform the development of analytical models and the derived understanding could find applications in Lasik eye surgery and industrial cutting processes.


Prof. Reis was my 2.002 (Mechanics and Materials II) professor and I became interested in working with him because I was fascinated by in-class demonstrations of his research projects and their relation to the course material. I have worked in the fields of nanotechnology, drilling engineering, prosthetic limbs and automotive transmission systems. I devote my non-academic hours to rowing

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