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Mar 31 2020

Form and Function of Feet and Fins

MIE Department Seminar

March 31, 2020

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


1043 ERF


Chicago, IL 60607

Form and Function of Feet and Fins

Madhu Venkadesan, PhD

Assistant Professor Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Yale University


Abstract: The stiffness of propulsive appendages, such as feet or fins, is important for locomotor function. In this talk, I show that curvature-induced stiffness is the common principle underlying the stiffness of both primate feet and rayed fish fins. We use mathematical models, physical mimics, and biological experiments to arrive at this conclusion and also track the evolution of curvature among hominins. The principle is evident in a drooping dollar bill that significantly stiffens upon slightly curling it in the transverse direction.

Bio: Madhu Venkadesan studies the mechanics and control of how animals move. Problems being pursued include locomotion in animals, the geometry of joints, the topology of shape-changing skins, and the dynamics of muscle. The motivation for and application of his work include biomedical sciences, evolutionary biology, robotics, and plain curiosity about everyday observations.


Pranav Bhounsule

Date posted

Oct 15, 2021

Date updated

Oct 15, 2021