Lou Kondic, PhD, associate professor of mathematical sciences, has NASA support for theoretical and computational research on the dynamics of granular materials . His study is part of a larger project sponsored by the NASA Microgravity Program. The NJIT research is performed in close collaboration with Duke University and the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The experiment is scheduled to fly in the International Space Station in 2008.
Granular materials are poorly understood at a fundamental level. While there is a number of continuum models, usually based on elastoplastic type of constitutive relations, it is still very difficult to understand some basic features of granular materials based on continuum picture alone. One of the reasons are fluctuations, whose which are not necessary small, as it is emphasized by the image above of stress chains in slowly sheared granular system.
Kondic also studies the dynamics of thin film liquids, particularly contact line instability and related pattern formation. With funding from the NSF, he works in collaboration with researchers at the University Nacional del Centro, Tandil, Argentina.