My research addresses various fundamental problems of fluid and solid mechanics, including fluid-structure interactions, hydrodynamic instabilities, animal locomotion, aeroelasticity, rotating flows, and plant biomechanics. It generally involves a combination of analytical modeling, experiments, and numerical work.
There are several examples of convergent evolution among swimming animals (sharks, dolphins, and ichthyosaurs, for instance). This raises several important questions: What is the relation between form and function for these animals? Can the fish shapes be understood in terms of hydrodynamics only? Can we design performant swimming robots inspired from fish? (Right picture: Carp swimming through weeds in a stream, by Ando Hiroshige.)
A flag starts to flutter when it is placed in a flow with sufficient speed. This model problem of fluid-structure interactions has been extensively studied since the pioneering works of Rayleigh in the 19th century. Yet, its nonlinear dynamics is still poorly understood and efficient methods to extract energy from this aeroelastic instability remain to be developed.
In his notebooks, Leonardo da Vinci observed that “all the branches of a tree at every stage of its height, when put together, are equal in thickness to the trunk”. Yet, the mechanisms underlying this Leonardo’s rule are still debated today. One hypothesis is that branches sense wind-induced loads and adjust their diameters to resist fracture, while keeping biomass investments to a minimum.
Flagella and Cilia
Flagella and cilia are slender organelles used by eukaryotic cells to produce or sense flow. Although their internal structure, the axoneme, has been remarkably conserved throughout evolution, their kinematics can be very diverse. We have studied whether these kinematics could result from a minimization of energetic costs.
I am always open to new projects and collaborations, so feel free to contact me.