Grad Student Profile: Meet Ophelia Bolmin
Ophelia Bolmin is a PhD candidate in the department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. She is a member of the Bio-inspired Adaptive Morphology (BAM) Lab. Originally from France, it was a passion for bio- inspired design that brought Ophelia to the University of Illinois. She earned her undergraduate degree in France where the higher education system is structured differently than it is in the United States. She did two years of training in Lycee Chaptal, and then went to a Grande Ecole (Engineering School). There she specialized in materials and structure calculations within mechanical engineering.
To Ophelia, studying in the U.S. was a dream. She has a great appreciation for the history and progression of bio-inspired design that the U.S. has established. She was awarded a Fulbright grant to study aerospace engineering at Illinois, earning a master’s degree in 2017. She selected the University of Illinois in particular because of the bio-inspired design taking place. She met MechSE Professor Aimy Wissa and Dr. Marianne Alleyne from the Department of Entomology and began her PhD work in the BAM Lab.
Ophelia is currently working on a project to create a self-righting mechanism inspired by the click beetle’s legless jump. The click beetle project is a collaboration between three labs, the BAM lab which specializes in dynamics and robotics, the Materials Tribology Laboratory, which specializes in friction and solid mechanics, and the Alleyne CoLaborative. Observing the beetles through high speed recordings, she analyzed the different stages of the jump of the beetle and modeled the energy transfers. Moving forward, she wants to create physical prototypes of this biology inspired mechanisms. This involves the pursuit of a composite that behaves similarly to the cuticle of the beetle. In addition to this, Ophelia and her team are creating a simulation that can predict how varying parameters like mass will affect the performance.
In addition to her work in the BAM Lab, Ophelia is a teaching assistant for ME 370, Mechanical Design I and in the spring will be an assistant for ME 498, Bio-inspired Design. In her spare time, she loves to bake, especially French desserts. She is also a pianist and bassist, and was in a rock band during high school, and later a jazz band as an undergraduate.