Mark Ilton, PhD, researches the physics of soft matter. Examples of soft matter range from parts of the human body (e.g. skin, blood) to engineered materials (e.g. plastics, rubbers). Ilton is particularly interested in how soft materials can be used to develop green technologies. Currently his team is studying the unloading dynamics of elastic materials and their connection to the ultra-fast movements of biological organisms such as mantis shrimp and trap-jaw ants. By understanding the physical limits of these elastically-driven movements, he aims to inform the efficient design of powerful micro-robots.
Ilton joins Harvey Mudd after a postdoctoral position at the Conte Polymer Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He received his PhD in physics from McMaster University and M.S. and B.S. degrees in physics from the University of Waterloo.
- Quanta Magazine, 6/13/18 Too Small for Big Muscles, Tiny Animals Use Springs
- Wired, 4/26/18 Nature’s Mechanical Secrets Could Help Build Faster Robots
- Discover Magazine, 4/26/18 How Tiny Creatures Achieve Amazingly High Speeds
- Physics APS, 9/16/16 Focus: Membrane Holes Can Shrink, Grow, or Stay Put