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In spite of the deep knowledge reached in Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics and Energetics, a number of subtle questions arises when by coupling, interaction or imbrication, some properties or specific behaviors emerge and give rise to :

  • crises, run-overs, changes of evolution
  • collective properties distant from those of the elementary entities
  • global behaviors not reducible to those of one constituent

In these issues, the difficulty does not come from the number of constituents or of elements but from the consequence of their interaction: the system is thus not only complicated but complex. To understand or even master it, it is convenient to apply approaches or specific methods capable of anticipating the development of proper behaviors. It is this type of situations that the Labex addresses, within 3 research axes based on the following issues :

* dynamics:

Axis " Instabilities, Couplings, Control " whose objective is to manage, inhibit or control the instabilities.

* scales :

Axis "Heterogeneity, Multi-scales, Change of scales" whose objective is to master multi-scales effects and scale changes

* complex media :

Axis " Complex Fluids " whose objective is to understand and use the specific effects of  complex fluids

The concept of "complexity" differs from that more usual of "complicated" in the sense that "complicated" often results from large numbers, that is from the accumulation of elements, whereas complexity can appear even with two or three elements only. As an usual example, let us quote the mechanical clocks : they are complicated since they consist of multiple gearings; on the other hand, a simple module made of two clocks can be complex since chaotic and give rise this way to funny gadgets for games or for decoration. Yet, nowadays, "complicated" remains a difficulty but is not longer actually a problem, since computing power knows how to manage on our behalf large amounts of data. On the other hand, complexity still continues to raise delicate issues for which humans remain necessary. This yields, in any of the addressed subjects, various challenges that the Labex project aims to tackle.

Under the general theme of " Mechanics and Complexity ", the approach that is worked out wishes to be definitely pragmatic by trying to model,  plan and control the phenomena or the studied systems. In particular, as the researches performed in the four associated units, one goal is to apply results by interaction with industry or by registering patent. To optimize the approach, the pallet of skills of the research teams is mobilized either to insure a qualitative jump on a targeted problem, or to approach new multidisciplinary problems.

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