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Swelling-induced instabilities in growing polymer networks

The department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Limerick invites you to a seminar by Dr Matthew Hennessy (Centre de Recerca Matemàtica):

Title: Swelling-induced instabilities in growing polymer networks

Abstract: Photopolymerisation is a versatile light-driven solidification process that enables monomer-rich liquid to be converted into an elastic polymer network.  Due to the ability to finely control the conversion process, photopolymerisation plays a fundamental role in modern fabrication techniques such as stereolithography and 3D printing.  Under certain experimental conditions, the solidification front that separates monomer from polymer remains planar and the monomer-to-polymer conversion profile propagates as a travelling wave in a direction that follows the illumination.  However, recent experiments by our group have shown that this planar front can destabilise.  We believe this is due to monomer diffusing from the liquid into the growing polymer network, which would generate compressive stresses as the network swells to accommodate the extra volume.  Moreover, we have found that coupling the growth and instability processes can drive the spontaneous self-assembly of three-dimensional structures.  This talk will focus on how various aspects of these experiments can be mathematically modelled.  In particular, a mathematical model of photopolymersation that captures the growth, swelling, and mechanical response of the polymer network will be presented.  The model is based on an Eulerian formulation of nonlinear poroelasticity.  A combination of asymptotic analysis and finite-element simulations is used to explore the coupling between growth and instability, as well as the resulting three-dimensional morphologies.  This is joint work with Alessandra Vitale, Omar K Matar, and Joao T Cabral.

This seminar will take place on Friday, November 11, at 4pm, in A2-002.

If you have any questions regarding this seminar, please direct them to Iain Moyles (061 233726,

A full list of upcoming seminars can be found at


Supported by Science Foundation Ireland funding, MACSI - the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry (, centred at the University of Limerick, is dedicated to the mathematical modelling and solution of problems which arise in science, engineering and industry in Ireland.



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