Mike Plesha
Department of Engineering Physics , Engineering Mechanics Program, Geological Engineering Program,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
147 Engineering Research Building (ERB), 1500 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1687
Office - 525 ERB, Phone (608) 262-5741, Fax (608) 263-7451, e-mail: plesha@engr.wisc.edu.

University of Illinois - Chicago, B.S., 1979, Structural Engineering and Materials.
Northwestern University, M.S., 1980, Ph.D., 1983, Structural Engineering and Mechanics.
Research Areas

Discrete Element Methods (DEM)
DEM is a computer technique in which materials are modeled in a particle-by-particle manner. The technique is especially effective for applications to particulate materials, like soil, and powder, but is also applicable to modeling solids and the degradation of solids into particulates . At the University of Wisconsin, we are involved with developing new enhancements to DEM, such as clustering to model particles of arbitrary rough shape, megaclustering to model solids and damage of solids, and development of new time integration methods to allow for more rapid computing. Demonstrations of results of DEM analyses.

Numerical Methods for Solution of Reynolds Equation
We are involved with developing new finite element methods that allow rapid accurate solutions of Reynolds equation using coarse meshes. Applications include air bearing sliders in electronic data recording devices.

Models for Contact Using Fractal Geometry
We are employing surface idealizations that have fractal shape to analytically study how contact and friction behavior change with size scale. Applications include geological discontinuities such as joints in rock, and nanotribology.

Finite Element Methods for Impact and Failure Analysis of Composite Materials and Structures.
We are developing new finite element techniques for modeling crack growth and progressive damage of plate and shell structures made of composite materials. Applications include development of new energy-absorbing guard rails for highway applications. Demonstrations of results of FEM analyses.

Selected publications.
Michael E. Plesha
* EMA 605 Finite Elements
* EMA 201 Statics
* EMA 545 Mechanical Vibrations
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