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Keplinger, Christoph Assistant Professor and Mollekopf Faculty Fellow

Positions

Research Areas research areas

Research

research overview

  • The biological world and the engineered world differ in terms of mechanics: human-made machines mostly rely on hard materials, such as metals, while nature makes extensive use of soft materials, with extreme examples like octopus arms. The elegance, adaptability, and efficiency of the designs found in nature inspire the creation of soft machines with unprecedented capabilities. The Keplinger Research Group aims to fundamentally challenge current limits of performance of soft machines, using an interdisciplinary approach that synergizes concepts from soft matter physics and chemistry with advanced engineering technologies. Major themes of research include the development of high-performance, muscle-mimetic actuators based on soft, electroactive structures that replicate the sweeping success of biological muscle, as well as the discovery of energy harvesting systems that provide sustainable solutions for the use of untapped sources of renewable energy, such as ocean waves.

keywords

  • HASEL artificial muscles, soft robotics, stretchable electronics, self-healing materials, ionic conductors, electromechanical instabilities, dielectric elastomer actuators, dielectric elastomer generators, electroactive polymers, soft active materials, energy harvesting, electromechanical energy conversion, soft matter physics, materials science, renewable energy, polymer physics

Publications

selected publications

Teaching

courses taught

  • MCEN 4064 - Soft Machines
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Introduces soft machines as a new paradigm of engineering that starts to impact healthcare, consumer electronics, renewable energy and collaborative robotics. Prepares students to participate in research on soft machines by starting with fundamentals of soft materials and by covering soft robotics, stretchable electronics, energy harvesting and functional polymers. Includes guest lectures, a literature review and a hands-on lab project. Same as MCEN 5046 and MSEN 5046.
  • MCEN 4085 - Mechanical Engineering Design Project 2
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Second part of a two-course capstone design experience in mechanical engineering. Includes refinement of prototype, design optimization, fabrication, testing, and evaluation. Students orally present the final design and prepare a written report and operation manual for the product. GEEN-BS and GEEN-BSEPL students are not required to complete MCEN 4026.
  • MCEN 5064 - Soft Machines
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Introduces soft machines as a new paradigm of engineering that starts to impact healthcare, consumer electronics, renewable energy and collaborative robotics. Prepares students to participate in research on soft machines by starting with fundamentals of soft materials and by covering soft robotics, stretchable electronics, energy harvesting and functional polymers. Includes guest lectures, a literature review and a hands-on lab project. Same as MCEN 4046 and MSEN 5046.

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