Research Assistant / Associate in Theoretical and Computational Mechanics of Liquid Crystal Elastomers and Glasses

University of Cambridge Department of Engineering

United Kingdom

A position exists, for a Research Assistant/Associate in the Department of Engineering, to work on the programmed shape morphing of liquid crystal elastomers and glasses.

Dr John Biggins is establishing a new experimental and theoretical research activity in the area of liquid crystalline elastomers and glasses (LCE/Gs). These remarkable soft-solids can undergo large reversible and programmed shape changes upon heating or illumination, and the group will target novel mechanics and "artificial-muscle" applications in shape-changing devices. By patterning the alignment direction within and LCE/G, one can achieve a complex shape changes on activation This research associate will be a theoretical/computational group member, focusing on the geometry and mechanics of programmed shape changes.

The key responsibilities and duties are to design patterns of LCE alignment that deliver strong and useful shape changes, and explore the use of patterned LCE/G actuation to trigger and tailor mechanical instabilities such as snapping, wrinkling and creasing. The post holder will elucidate fundamental mechanical principles, and also design mechanical components such as grabbers, valves and haptic pixels. The post holder will also need to engage effectively and productively with the experimentalists who will realize and test their designs.

The skills, qualifications and experience required to perform the role will include theoretical or computational experience of large deformation mechanics (ideally including mechanical instabilities) and, ideally, differential geometry and inverse problems. Applicants must also have (or be close to obtaining) a PhD in Science or Engineering.

Appointment at Research Associate level is dependent on having a PhD. Those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD will be appointed at Research Assistant level, which will be amended to Research Associate once the PhD has been awarded.

Salary Ranges: Research Assistant: £26,715 - £30,942 Research Associate: £32,816 - £40,322

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 24 months in the first instance.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV), a covering letter, and 2 relevant publications in the Upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application. Please submit your application by midnight on the closing date.

If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact Dr John Biggins ( for queries of a technical nature or Ms Hilde Hambro, (Department of Engineering, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ, Tel +44 01223 748243, email for queries related to the application process.

Please quote reference NM24622 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

  • HR7_Research Assistant-Associate in the theoretical and computational mechanics of LCE/Gs

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