Principal Investigator: Dr. Chandler Benjamin


  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison 2017 (Engineering Mechanics)
  • M.S.   University of Wisconsin-Madison 2013 (Engineering Mechanics)
  • B.S.    Saginaw Valley State University 2011 (Optical Physics)

Curriculum Vitae

I have a varied background that includes Optical Physics, and Engineering Mechanics with a concentration on experimental mechanics. The research I have conducted to date has focused on the mechanical characterization of soft solid materials. In particular, I have worked with stimuli-responsive polymers.  My current research focus is in the areas of cardiovascular mechanics and the further characterization of HEMA-DMAEMA stimuli-responsive hydrogels.

Current Graduate Students: Ph.D.


Manoj Myneni

  • Ph.D candidate Texas A&M (expected May 2020)
  • M.S. Indian Institute of Technology Madras (2016)
  • B.S. Indian Institute of Technology Madras (2012)

My research focuses on understanding the initiation and propagation of aortic dissection using theoretical and experimental methods. Theoretical investigation is intended to identify aortic geometries and inhomogeneities that have high propensity for dissection. We are also developing some non-standard experimental techniques like peeling and tearing of soft tissues to characterize the propagation of aortic dissection.

Relevant Publications:

  1. Benjamin, C. C., Myneni, M., Muliana, A., & Rajagopal, K. R. (2019). Motion of a finite composite cylindrical annulus comprised of nonlinear elastic solids subject to periodic shear. International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics.
  2. Myneni,M., Rao,A.,Jiang,M.,Moreno,M.,Rajagopal,K.R.,Benjamin, C.C., Segmental variations in the peel characteristics of the porcine thoracic aorta, (Submitted to Annals of Biomedical Engineering).

Alexandria TrevinoEngineering researcher Alexandria Trevino operating equipment

  • PhD Candidate (Expected May 2024)
  • BS Physics Southwestern University (2019)


My research focuses on understanding the initiation of tearing and rupture behavior in soft materials.  The focus of this research is the experimental characterization of tearing and rupture and how the composition of a material effects the location of tearing in a soft material.

Abdelrahman (Abdel) Youssef

  • PhD Candidate (Expected May 2024)
  • B.S Mechanical Engineering (2019), with Concentration in Design. The American University in Cairo, New Cairo, Egypt. (Summa Cum Laide).


My research focuses on the mechanics of soft materials. Our use of soft materials is limited by our understanding of their functionality. By getting a better understanding of them, we can better use soft materials and come up with revolutionary and innovative engineering solutions. That is why I focus on the study of soft materials from an analytical, computational and experimental points’ of view. Currently my exploration into soft materials has brought me to the study of biomechanics, more specifically in the rupture theory of aortas.

Graduate Students: M.S.

Pratyusa Kar

  • M.S. Texas A&M (Expected August 2021)
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Delhi University, India.


I study the nonlinear mechanics of generalized neo-Hookean materials. The current focus of which has been the study of the pull-out phenomena of a neo-Hookean solid fiber in a soft generalized neo-Hookean matrix material.

Relevant Publications:

  1. P.Kar, M.Myneni, K.R.Rajagopal, C.C.Benjamin, Pullout of an neoHookean fiber embedded in a generalized neoHookean Matrix.  (in progress).

Devendra Dilip Badapukar

  • M.S. Texas A&M (Expected August 2021)
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering


My focus has been the experimental characterization of soft viscoelastic solids. My current projects include the construction of a bi-axial testing machine for soft viscoelastic solid characterization and the construction of a transparent hood for optical imaging of rheometric samples during testing.


Pranitha Prabhakaran (alumni)

  • M.S. Texas A&M (August 2019)
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Mumbai University, India.

Curriculum Vita

I am currently assessing the non-linear viscoelastic properties of two pH-sensitive hydrogels namely hydroxy ethyl methacrylate – dimethyl amino ethyl methacrylate (HEMA-DMAEMA) and hydroxy ethyl methacrylate – acrylic acid (HEMA-AA) by performing uni-axial, equi-biaxial tensile and squeeze test on hydrogel samples with desired shapes.  The results obtained will be used to identify the most appropriate non-linear model for characterization of these hydrogels.

Pranitha is working as an Engineer I at Dril-Quip Inc.

Relevant Publications:

  1. P.Prabhakaran, C.C.Benjamin (2019). Energy Dissipation in pH-sensitive hydrogels subjected to large amplitude oscillatory shear.  (Accepted 10-28-19) Mechanics of Materials.


Akshay Rao (alumni)

  • M.S. Texas A&M (May 2019)
  • B.Tech Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Karnataka, India

Curriculum Vitae

I work on solid mechanics applied to soft materials like biological tissues. A major portion of the work deals with experimental biomechanics meant to characterize the behavior of tissues. This includes performing rheometry and peeling tests on porcine aorta specimen as well as setting up a biaxial tester. We hope that understanding the mechanical behavior of aortic tissue will provide insight into cardiovascular diseases like Aortic Dissection. In addition to experimental work I am also looking into the mechanics problem of torsion of the aorta wall while considering it to be anisotropic, hyper elastic and three layered.

Akshay is working on computer vision and machine learning at Intelligent Automation Inc.

Relevant Publications:

  1. Myneni,M., Rao,A.,Jiang,M.,Moreno,M.,Rajagopal,K.R.,Benjamin, C.C., Segmental variations in the peel characteristics of the porcine thoracic aorta, (Submitted to Annals of Biomedical Engineering).

Undergraduate Students

Dominque Lonnes (Fall 2019) 

BS Mechanical Engineering:

Ms. Lonnes conducted research on the viscoelastic characterization of porcine thoracic aortas.  She, in particular, studied the relaxation phenomena of the upper and lower descending thoracic aorta subjected to finite strains.



Peter Meuller (Fall 2019)

BS Mechanical Engineering:

Mr. Meuller’s project was to construct a housing unit for a bi-axial tensile testing machine.  He successfully designed and constructed the first prototype for the housing unit.

Justin Alpern (Fall 2019, Spring 2021)

BS Mechanical Engineering:

Mr. Alpern’s research has concentrated on the construction of a temperature controlled hood for a shear rotational rheometer.  This hood will allow optical measurements of samples during oscillatory rheological testing.

Logan Walker (Summer 2020)

BS Mechanical Engineering:

Ms. Walker’s research explored analytical solutions to shearing motion of a generalized neo-Hookean cylindrical annulus

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