Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aerospace Engineering Sciences

First Advisor

Mahmoud I. Hussein

Second Advisor

Sedat Biringen

Third Advisor

Carlos Felippa

Fourth Advisor

Kurt Maute

Fifth Advisor

Todd Murray


Transmission of everyday sound and heat can be traced back to a physical particle, or wave, called a "phonon". Understanding, analyzing and manipulating phonons across multiple scales/disciplines can be achieved using phononic materials. That is a class of material systems featuring a basic pattern that repeats spatially. Among many qualities, it exhibits distinct frequency characteristics such as band gaps, where vibrational waves of certain frequencies are prohibited from propagation. These properties can benefit a multitude of applications, ranging from vibration isolation and converting waste heat into electricity to exotic concepts like acoustic cloaking. Using unit-cell design and optimization, phononic materials/devices with extraordinary properties may be realized. Since many of these applications are based on band-gap utilization, a critical design objective is to widen band-gap size or precisely synthesize its characteristics. Approaching this problem at the unit cell level is advantageous in many aspects, mostly because it provides a complete picture of the intrinsic local dynamics which is often obscured when analyzing the structure as a whole. Moreover, it is computationally less expensive than designing an entire structure. Unit-cell dispersion engineering is also scale independent; an optimized unit cell may be used to manipulate waves ranging from a few Hz to GHz, or higher, with proper scaling. In order to keep the structure/device size as small as possible, the band-gap central frequency is tuned to be as low as possible.

The objective of this thesis is to explore and advance unit-cell design and optimization of phononic materials in one, two and three-dimensions for a broad range of applications. In particular, an application for flow control is investigated where a phononic material is shown to manipulate and alter a flow field in a favorable manner. Results involving unit-cell design and coupled fluid-structure simulations (as part of a collaborative project) are presented and analyzed. The potential impact for a passive, inexpensive and practical technology for flow control is substantial. It can facilitate the delay/advancement of transition, prevention/provocation of separation and the suppression/enhancement of turbulence. A successful control scheme for one or more of these three flow phenomena will lead to drag reduction, lift enhancement, mixing augmentation and noise suppression, among other beneficial functions.