Ares J. Rosakis Ares J. Rosakis
Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering

Research Interests

Dynamic Deformation and Fracture Behavior of "Pentelicon" Marble (Parthenon Restoration)
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Collaborator: I. Vardoulakis, NTUA, Greece

imageThe Parthenon, the temple of Goddess Athena, situated on the Acropolis of Athens, is perhaps the most important surviving monument of Classical Antiquity. The European Union has devoted substantial resources for its restoration, a project which in addition to its archaeological challenges also involves a substantial structural mechanics and materials component. The Parthenon is built of high quality marble extracted from known quarry sites on the mountain of Pentelis. This anisotropic and rate sensitive solid is a surprisingly good structural material with interesting non-linear constitutive and fracture properties uncharacteristic of other nominally brittle geomaterials. In 1687, when Francisco Morosini, the Doge of Venice, was besieging the Acropolis, a cannon ball pierced the roof of the then intact structure, and caused the explosion of the gun powder stored in its interior. Archeologists are interested in this explosion because they want to know how far and in what size distributions the resulting fragments have flown. They believe that this will help them in the reconstruction of this three dimensional puzzle. Our project involves the complete constitutive and fracture characterization of both ancient and newly quarried marble pieces subjected to a variety of loading rates. Eventually this information will form the basis for the construction of numerical models simulating the explosion and fragmentation of the monument. Initial activities include the experimental and numerical study of damage created due to individual and multiple cannon ball impacts on column drums in order to estimate their residual strength and load carrying ability. To achieve this the dynamic constitutive behavior of “Pentelicon” marble is studied in detail.

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Caltech    last update: 05/31/2016