Student Projects

Our lab offers projects for EPFL students, in the broad field of mechanics for both undergraduates and masters students. If you are interested in doing a research project or simply curious to learn more about our lab, contact us now! (Prof. Pedro Reis, pedro.reis(at) Explore and find matches with your interests on this webpage or come to us with your ideas. Join us and play with us!


Project 1: 3D Scanning of surgical knots using X-ray tomography for performance prediction

The knot chosen by a surgeon to secure a suture thread during surgery will play a major role in the cicatrization process of an open wound. Indeed, failure of this knot, may it be through breakage or unravelling, can lead to catastrophic complications. The goal of this project is to analyze different types of knots by 3D-scanning them with a high-end X-Ray Tomograph. 3D image treatment will be performed using a powerful Matlab code which allows to access key geometrical information of the knot. The results of this first-of-its-kind study will introduce new tools for knot-performance prediction.

Project 2: Fluid-structure interactions in porous insect wings

Insect wings, as the ones of a fairy fly (in the picture), usually present an unconventional porous structure. Despite its porosity, the wing can generate enough lift to sustain the weight and then enable a rich flight dynamics. We are interested in the study of the interactions between the fluid and flexible porous wings, with the aim of rationalizing the physics at play and fabricate synthetic porous deformable structures that can replicate the behavior of their biological counterparts.

Project 3: Drag and lift on morphable structures

The shape of an object highly impact the drag force at high Reynolds number. A well-known example of this is the one of the golf ball: introducing dimples on it surface leads to a drastic decrease of the drag force and significant increase in their flight distance. In this project we want to explore how drag and lift can be dynamically tuned on an asymmetric morphable cylinder. Experiments will be conducted in a wind tunnel at high Reynolds number. The ultimate goal is to construct an automatic system for which the shape of the cylinder adapts to optimize drag and lift at any Reynolds number.

Project 4: Self-collapsing capsules through acoustic loading: towards drug delivery

Buckling is traditionally viewed as the first route for damage or failure of shell structures that is to be avoided in engineering. Instead, we seek to harvest shell buckling as opportunities for novel functionalities. This project will focus on the buckling of shells under dynamic loading. We will fabricate spherical shells using a rapid, versatile and precise coating technique and study their buckling behavior under dynamic loading. Identifying the underlying mechanisms leading to buckling could pave the road to novel drug releasing strategies for pharmaceutical applications.