Doctoral Dissertations

Keywords and Phrases

Helical structures


"The author has long speculated that the prevalence of helical structures in botany and zoology hints to an optimized pathway for force and/or energy transfer. His goal has been to realize an alternative approach to the standard stress analysis used in engineering in order to more efficiently and accurately deal with biological materials. Improved tools for these natural materials should in turn aid the design and analysis of engineered materials. Following the role of a navigator in leaf C. Levesque's book "Breakthrough Creativity", the author typically searches for ideas in a variety of places, including physics, materials science, biomimetics, dimensional analysis, etc., and attempts to link seemingly disconnected pieces of information into a consistent cognitive framework. In this document he presents his ideas for unit maps, which allow systematic searches to be made for innovative concepts in science and engineering, and unit mechanics, which helps to classify concepts that span multiple levels of structural hierarchy and spatial dimension. As an example, he explores the concept of force per time or force flow, where photons follow helical paths through a material's structure. He also presents the concept of close-packed helices in crystal lattices. On the experimental side, the author gives attention to flexible, spatially-scalable probe tests, such as hardness, instrumented indentation, and a simple, qualitative form of integrated photoelasticity. He puts forth his ideas on property mapping of botanical materials and, in particular, preliminary results for shortleaf pine"--Abstract, page iii.


Dharani, Lokeswarappa R.

Committee Member(s)

Chandrashekhara, K.
Carroll, Douglas R.
Birman, V. (Victor)
MacSithigh, G. P.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Engineering Mechanics


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2009


xi, 114 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 103-113).


© 2009 Jeffery Scott Thomas, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Crystal lattices
Force and energy

Thesis Number

T 9520

Print OCLC #


Electronic OCLC #