Tuesday, September 9, 2008 - 3:15pm
1.5 hours (actually 80 minutes)
A longstanding problem in the mathematical theory of elasticity is to predict theories of lower-dimensional objects (such as rods, plates or shells), subject to mechanical deformations, starting from the 3d nonlinear theory. For plates, a recent effort (in particular work by Friesecke, James and Muller) has lead to rigorous justification of a hierarchy of such theories (membrane, Kirchhoff, von Karman). For shells, despite extensive use of their ad-hoc generalizations present in the engineering applications, much less is known from the mathematical point of view. In this talk, I will discuss the limiting behaviour (using the notion of Gamma-limit) of the 3d nonlinear elasticity for thin shells around an arbitrary smooth 2d mid-surface S. We prove that the minimizers of the 3d elastic energy converge, after suitable rescaling, to minimizers of a hierarchy of shell models. The limiting functionals (which for plates yield respectively the von Karman, linear, or linearized Kirchhoff theories) are intrinsically linked with the geometry of S. They are defined on the space of infinitesimal isometries of S (which replaces the 'out-of-plane-displacements' of plates), and the space of finite strains (which replaces strains of the `in-plane-displacements'), thus clarifying the effects of rigidity of S on the derived theories. The different limiting theories correspond to different magnitudes of the applied forces, in terms of the shell thickness. This is joint work with M. G. Mora and R. Pakzad.