Julian J. Rimoli is an associate professor in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering. His research interests lie within the broad field of computational mechanics of materials and structures, with particular focus on aerospace applications. Rimoli has a special interest in problems involving multiple length and time scales, and in the development of theories and computational techniques for seamlessly bridging them.
Rimoli has developed a technology aimed at strengthening structural systems that are primarily composed of bars and strings, and which look like a child’s jungle gym. “These tensegrity lattices allow for the building of resilient structures that can be severely deformed without losing their load-bearing ability,” Rimoli offers. “There are several aviation-related applications for these structures, particularly from a crashworthiness perspective for commercial aircraft or drone package deliveries.”
Rimoli also is passionate about helping students gain a conceptual understanding of the fundamental aspects of structural mechanics. He has developed an educational app called “Truss Me!” This app allows a user to build a truss and see how the design performs. If there are flaws in the design, the structure realistically fails. Rimoli has extended this concept to his own research, equipping his test structures with sensors that record acceleration and material properties during impact. Then he uses augmented reality to “walk” through the structure and see where the damage occurred.
Rimoli sees applications of augmented and virtual reality—coupled to physics-based models and deep learning—as the basis for exploring and evaluating new aircraft designs for urban air mobility.