Lawrence N. Virgin

Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Professor Virgin's research is centered on studying the behavior of nonlinear dynamical systems. This work may be broadly divided into two components. First, investigation of the fundamental nature of nonlinear systems based on a mathematical description of their underlying equations of motion. Both analytical and numerical techniques are used with special attention focused on the loss of stability of dynamical systems.

The second area of interest is to apply recent results from nonlinear dynamical systems theory to problems of practical engineering importance. These include the nonlinear rolling motion of ships leading to capsize; buckling of axially-loaded structural components; aeroelastic flutter of aircraft panels at high supersonic speeds; vibration isolation based on nonlinear springs; energy harvesting; damage detection and structural health monitoring; and the dynamics of very flexible structures including solar sails and marine risers. Professor Virgin conducts mechanical experiments to complement these studies.

More recently, he has developed an interest in 3D-printing, with applications in models for high-fidelity experiments, and for use in the teaching arena.

The flavor of much of this work is contained in the books:

Introduction to Experimental Nonlinear Dynamics, L.N. Virgin, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Vibration of Axially Loaded Structures, L.N. Virgin, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Director of Graduate Studies

Contact Information

Education

  • B.S. University of Manchester (United Kingdom), 1981
  • M.S. Cardiff University (United Kingdom), 1982
  • Ph.D. University of London (United Kingdom), 1986

Research Interests

Study of the behavior of nonlinear dynamical systems, including the investigation of the fundamental nature of nonlinear systems based on a mathematical description of their underlying equations of motion and the application of recent results from nonlinear dynamical systems theory to problems of practical engineering importance, especially in aerospace engineering.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Fellow. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2023
  • Frocht Award. Society for Experimental Mechanics. 2016
  • International Gas Turbine Institute's (IGTI) J. P. Davis Award. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2012

Courses Taught

  • ME 592: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 527: Buckling of Engineering Structures
  • ME 494: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 493: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 491: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 490: Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 473: Aerospace Structures
  • ME 392: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 391: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • CEE 647: Buckling of Engineering Structures

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Virgin, Lawrence N. “On the mechanics of monofilaments used in touch sensory perception.” Medical Engineering & Physics 123 (January 2024): 104083. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.medengphy.2023.104083.
  • Gibson, O. S., C. Knotek, L. Virgin, and E. Dowell. “Buckling of a Vertically Mounted Cantilevered Plate Under Static Torsional Corner Loads—Experiment and Theory.” Journal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME 90, no. 6 (June 1, 2023). https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4056859.
  • Virgin, L. N., and P. S. Harvey. “A lateral–torsional buckling demonstration model using 3D printing.” Engineering Structures 280 (April 1, 2023). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.engstruct.2023.115682.
  • Cooley, S. A., H. Yang, and L. N. Virgin. “3D-printing and cylinder buckling: challenges and opportunities.” Philosophical Transactions. Series A, Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences 381, no. 2244 (April 2023): 20220035. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2022.0035.
  • Cervi, C., S. T. Santillan, and L. N. Virgin. “Interrogating the Configuration Space of Postbuckled Beams.” Journal of Engineering Mechanics 149, no. 3 (March 1, 2023). https://doi.org/10.1061/JENMDT.EMENG-6839.