Welcome and Mission
Welcome the Vibrations, Adaptive Structures and Testing Laboratory, or as we like to call it, the VAST Lab. We are part of the Center for Intelligent Material Systems and Structures (CIMSS), which is comprised of several labs and is housed in the Mechanical Engineering Department of Virginia Tech.
We love what we do and we spend countless hours playing in the lab. Our work in the academic world and applied research favors our knack for exploration. As our name suggests, we specialize in Vibrations, Adaptive Structures and Testing, but we are always open to new things. Vibrations is one of our passions. The dynamic behavior of structures from very large inflatable satellites (Gossamer Structures) to micron size stereocilia, fuels our interest in this field. By Adaptive Structures we mean “structures that have the ability to adapt, evolve or change their properties or behaviour in response to the environment around them” (taken from Adaptive Structures: Engineering Applications ). As part of CIMSS, we work in the field of Smart Materials and leverage this expertise to aid in the development of adaptive structures. Smart Materials (also called Intelligent Materials), are materials that exhibit coupling between two fields. For example, piezoceramics exhibit electro-mechanical coupling and shape memory alloys (SMA) exhibit thermo-mechanical coupling (there are many others). Testing is where we get our hands dirty and truly have fun. Although frustrating at times, (as any experimentalist will tell you), it can be very rewarding as well. We believe that all models need testing and all testing needs models. We usually strive for a 50/50 ratio between theory and experimentation on all projects.