Math Modeling Seminar: Morphorods - A Modelling Framework for Growing Slender Structures

Event Image
math modeling seminar derek moulton

Morphorods: A Modelling Framework for Growing Slender Structures

Dr. Derek Moulton
Associate Professor
Mathematical Institute
University of Oxford

Register Here for Zoom Link


Filamentary structures are ubiquitous in nature, and can be found at all scales, from microscopic chains of molecules to vines and elephant trunks to braided magnetic flux tubes in solar flares. A key feature prevalent in biological filaments is growth, a critical element underlying pattern formation and also utilised to generate movement or provide mechanical support. And defined more broadly as a change in reference shape or size, growth is a common and important feature in non-biological materials as well. Due to their inherent slenderness, the mechanical behaviour of growing filaments is well-characterised by a one-dimensional continuum representation. In this talk I will outline a modelling framework for describing the mechanical behavior of growing slender elastic structures, which we term morphoelastic rods, or simply morphorods. I will demonstrate the utility of the theory via a number of diverse applications, from pattern formation in seashells to the fascinating tropic growth of plants.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Derek Moulton is an Associate Professor in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford. He received his PhD in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Delaware in 2008. He was a postdoc at the University of Arizona and then at Oxford, before taking his current faculty position in 2013. His research focuses on the development and analysis of physics-based mathematical models, using continuum mechanics to understand problems in morphogenesis, growth, pattern formation, physiology, biomimetics, and biomedical devices.

Intended Audience:
Undergraduates, graduates, and experts. Those with interest in the topic.

To request an interpreter, please visit

The Math Modeling Seminar will recur each week throughout the semester on the same day and time. Find out more about upcoming speakers on the Mathematical Modeling Seminar Series webpage.

Nathan Cahill
Event Snapshot
When and Where
April 20, 2021
2:00 pm - 2:50 pm
Room/Location: See Zoom Registration Link

Open to the Public

Interpreter Requested?