Cutting Soft Materials

Proposition de stage M2 2020-2021

Laboratoire Sciences et Ingénierie de la Matière Molle, (SIMM)

Adresse: ESPCI, 10 Rue Vauquelin 75005 Paris

Directeur du laboratoire: Etienne Barthel

Responsables du stage: Matteo Ciccotti (matteo.ciccotti (arobase), Frédéric Lechenault (frederic.lechenault (arobase), Paul Fourton (paul.fourton (arobase)


Cutting is a ubiquitous process with wide-ranging implications, culturally and technologically. The initial developments of cutting science and technology were mostly devoted to metal machining and focused on plastic deformations. The importance of fracture toughness in cutting was only acknowledged in the 60’s after the development of linear elastic fracture mechanics.
However, these concepts are of little help in the cutting of soft and deformable materials. The local crack fields are strongly coupled with the shape and motion of the blade, involving subtle adhesion and friction problems. In this context, the fracture energy and direction of propagation are not independent of shape of the blade, that is why new tools have to be developed to describe them.


The present masters’ internship, in collaboration with the SIMM (Soft Matter Science and Engineering) laboratory at ESPCI Paris, will focus on cutting a film of a soft dissipative material such as PVB (Poly-Vinyl-Butyral) with sharp blades of different shapes, and under different levels of initial stretch. This issue is highly relevant for industrial applications since PVB is usually used as a reinforcing interlayer sandwiched between two glass plates to produce impact resistant glazing (e.g. windshields for vehicles).


Masters student, interested by experimental physics, with competencies in materials science, applied mechanics, image analysis.

Duration : 6 mois

Possibility for a Doctoral thesis: Yes

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Practical information

Sciences et Ingénierie de la Matière Molle

Soft Matter Enginering and Science Laboratory - UMR 7615

10 rue Vauquelin
75231 PARIS CEDEX 05

  • Chair : E. Barthel
  • Vice Chairs : J.B. d’Espinose & G. Ducouret
  • Administration : F. Decuq, M.-T. Mendy & M. Hirano-Courcot
  • Communication : A. Hakopian & M. Ciccotti
  • Information Technology : A. Hakopian
  • Safety, Health and Environment Assistant : F. Martin

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