Professor Kochmann's research includes theoretical, computational and experimental solid mechanics and aims at understanding the link between microstructure and macroscopic properties in a wide range of materials (e.g., metals, ceramics, composites and new classes of architected metamaterials). Key focus is on understanding and exploiting instabilities across scales. To this end, his group develops new theoretical models and advanced computational techniques to bridge across scales. Examples include atomistic-to-continuum coupling techniques, homogenization methods, phase field and constitutive modeling. Applications range from plasticity and failure mechanisms in metals to microstructure formation in additively manufactured solids and the thermo-electro-mechanically-coupled performance of active materials. A further emphasis is on architected metamaterials with controllable properties such as nano- and micro-truss networks, active composite materials, acoustic wave guides, and the nonlinear dynamics of structures that mimic small-scale material phenomena. Besides theoretical and computational research, Professor Kochmann's group also fabricates and tests architected materials such as active ferroelectrics and composites, for which new experimental techniques are developed where necessary.
Professor Dennis M. Kochmann joined the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering as Professor of Mechanics and Materials in April 2017. He graduated from Ruhr-University Bochum with a Diploma (Dipl.-Ing.) in Mechanical Engineering/Applied Mechanics in September 2006. He spent one year as a Fulbright fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was awarded a Master's degree in Engineering Mechanics in June 2006. Back at Ruhr-University Bochum, he received his Doctor of Engineering (Dr.-Ing.) in Mechanical Engineering in June 2009. After the completion of his doctoral degree, he first moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Engineering Physics, before he went on to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in September 2010 as a postdoctoral scholar in Aerospace and as a Feodor Lynen fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He joined the faculty of Caltech's Aerospace Department (GALCIT) in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science as Assistant Professor in September 2011 and became Professor of Aerospace in November 2016. He was awarded NSF's CAREER Award, IUTAM's Bureau Prize in Solid Mechanics, GAMM's Richard von Mises Prize and twice the Caltech Graduate Student Council's Teaching Award. He is the Vice-Chair of USACM's Technical Thrust Area on Nanotechnology and Lower-Scale Phenomena, and he was the Recording Secretary of ASME's Applied Mechanics Division.