Tod A. Laursen

Professor and Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Duke University

142 Hudson Hall
Box 90300
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708
Phone: 919-660-5430
FAX: 919-660-8963



Brief Bio & Publications | Courses | Students and Projects | Other Links

Brief Biography & Publications

Tod Laursen co-directs the Computational Mechanics Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University, and has particular interest in the development and application of computational methods for nonlinear applications in solid and structural mechanics. In addition to his primary appointment in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, he holds secondary appointments in both Civil and Environmental Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Duke. He served as the Director of Graduate Studies in Civil and Environmental Engineering between 1998 and 2000, and served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in CEE between 2001 and 2003. He served as the Senior Associate Dean for Education in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University from 2003 to 2008, before being named Chair of MEMS in 2008.

His teaching interests encompass basic undergraduate courses in engineering science and mechanics, and graduate courses in nonlinear mechanics, numerical methods, and finite element methodologies. Although his research spans computational nonlinear solid mechanics fairly broadly, its primary focus has been on the development of effective computational strategies for the treatment of contact-impact phenomena in mechanics. Among other sources, this work has been funded by a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation , a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research , and various research contracts from Sandia National Laboratories .

He is the Editor-In-Chief of the Elsevier Journal, Finite Elements in Analysis and Design , and author of the research monograph Computational Contact and Impact Mechanics , which was published by Springer in March of 2002.

Related Links:

  • CV (PDF format)
  • Publication List (including some PDFs)
  • Courses Taught at Duke

    • EGR 10, Introduction to Engineering
    • EGR 53L, Computational Methods in Engineering
    • EGR 75L, Mechanics of Solids
    • EGR 150, Engineering Communications
    • CE 122L, Fluid Mechanics
    • CE 131, Matrix Structural Analysis
    • CE/ME 175, Analytical and Computational Solid Mechanics
    • CE 201, Advanced Mechanics of Solids
    • CE/BME 206, Elasticity
    • CE 251, Systematic Engineering Analysis
    • CE 254, Introduction to the Finite Element Method
    • CE 255, Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis

    Students and Projects

    Current PhD Students:

    • Jessica Sanders
    • Harishanker Gajendran

    See memorial website for Abhijit Mahato at

    Past PhD Students:

    • Bin Yang, Ph.D., 2006. Dissertation title: Mortar Finite Element Methods for Large Deformation Contact Mechanics. Current employer: ESI Group, Columbia, Maryland.
    • Ilinca Stanciulescu, Ph.D., 2005. Dissertation title: Nonlinear Finite Element Formulations and Bifurcation Analysis for Structures Undergoing Large Deformations. Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ilinca's website
    • Xiaonong Meng, Ph.D., 2002. Dissertation title: Time Stepping Algorithms for Transient Analysis in Nonlinear Solid Mechanics. Current employer: Simulia (Dassault Systemes), Warwick, Rhode Island.
      • Winner, 2001 Robert J. Melosh Medal Competition
    • Garrett Love, Ph.D., 2001; M.S., 1997. Dissertation title: Velocity Update Algorithms for Transient Impact Problems: Consideration of Kinematic Discontinuities Within a Conserving Framework. Current position: Assistant Professor, Computational Science Program, North Carolina Central University.
    • Vikas Chawla, Ph.D., 1997. Dissertation title: Energy Consistent Algorithms in Computational Contact Mechanics. Current employer: ANSYS, Inc., Canonsburg, PA.
    • Victor Oancea, Ph.D., 1996. Dissertation title: Constitutive Modeling of Friction Processes and Finite Element Implementations. Current employer: Simulia (Dassault Systemes), Warwick, Rhode Island.
      • Winner, 1996 Robert J. Melosh Medal Competition

    Past M.S. Students:

    • Ryan Greer, M.S., 2004.
    • Bharathwajan Iyengar, M.S., 2003.
    • Timothy Jones, M.S., 2001.
    • Hongxia Xiong, M.S., 1999.
    • Yingshu Yu, M.S., 1999.
    • Vivek Padmanabhan, M.S., 1998.
    • Renuka Srinivasan, M.S., 1996.
    • Srinath Alapati, M.S., 1995.
    • Jeffrey Scott, M.S., 1995.

    Other Links

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    Last revised by Tod Laursen on 6/30/08.