GALCIT 80+ image
go to next speaker imageWolfgang Knauss
Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, Caltech

Wolfgang G. Knauss, motivated by the need to understand failure of solid propellant rocket fuels, provided the main experimental background for understanding the role of viscoelasticity in fracture propagation, and established the first comprehensive (linearly) viscoelastic fracture theory. Knauss studied high-rate crack extension in brittle solids and resolved a longstanding dichotomy in dynamic fracture; Detailed highspeed photography demonstrated that the theoretically modeled fracture process was unrealistic and that multiple fractures at the crack tip controlled both the speed and the phenomenon of crack branching; Demonstrated the important influence of dilatational changes on the time dependence of the constitutive relationships for polymers in the nonlinear range; Pioneered work in nano-mechanics and reliability through the use of probe microscopy. Knauss's early diversions into geology and biomechanics (radial keratotomy, human intervetebral disk) investigations attest to the breadth of mechanics supported by the GALCIT spirit.

He is receive his BS in 1958, MS in 1959, PhD in 1963 from Caltech and is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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