Aim and Scope

The University of Maryland Baltimore County in collaboration with the Stress and Vibration Group of the Institute of Physics and the Technical Committee of Vibration and Sound of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers is hosting a symposium on the mechanics of systems employing slender structural elements. This forms a continuation of a successful meeting series on the Mechanics of Slender Structures staged by the University of Northampton in 2004 and 2006
(website: http://www.eng.nene.ac.uk/~conf2006/Symposium.htm).

Applications of slender structures include terrestrial, marine and space systems. Moving elastic elements such as ropes, cables, belts and tethers are pivotal components of many engineering systems. Their lengths often vary when the system is in operation. The applications include vertical transportation installations and, more recently, space tether propulsion systems. Traction drive elevator installations employ ropes and belts of variable length as a means of suspension, and also for the compensation of tensile forces over the traction sheave. In cranes and mine hoists, cables and ropes are subject to length variation in order to carry payloads. Tethers experiencing extension and retraction are important components of offshore and marine installations, as well as being proposed for a variety of different space vehicle propulsion systems based on different applications of momentum exchange and electrodynamic interactions with planetary magnetic fields. Furthermore, cables and slender rods are used extensively in civil engineering; in cable-supported bridges, guyed masts and long-span roofs of buildings and stadia. Also, suspended cables are applied as electricity transmission lines. Chains are used in various power transmission systems that include such mechanical systems as chain drives and chain saws. Moving conveyor belts are essential components in various material handling installations and textile manufacturing systems involve slender continua such as yarns composed of staple fibres.

The behaviour of these elements plays a significant role in the performance of the host structure and a holistic approach is needed in the analysis and design of the entire system. The symposium will bring together experts from various fields: structural mechanics, thermo-mechanics, dynamics, electrodynamics, vibration and control, structural health monitoring, artificial intelligence, and materials science to discuss the current state of research as well as rising trends and direction for future research in the area of mechanics of slender structures. The meeting is aimed at improving the understanding of structural and thermo-mechanical properties and behaviour of slender structures. More specifically, the methods for the suppression of adverse dynamic responses of such systems will be addressed. The scope covers analytical, numerical, and experimental research into the mechanics of ropes, cables, tethers, chains, yarns and fibres as well as their interactions with the host structure in various engineering applications.