Thomas C. O'Connor

Nonlinear Mechanics & Rheology of Soft Materials

Welcome to my research website. Here you can find information about my scientific interests, links to resources I have developed for the community, and some updates on past & current outreach activities.

I am currently a Harry S. Truman Fellowship at Sandia National Laboratory. My research program focuses on modeling the nonlinear hydrodynamics of polymers during additive manufacturing and other industrial processing methods. I am applying simulations at the molecular and continuum scale to better understand how polymers deform and flow during manufacturing. 

More broadly, I am interested in understanding the atomic scale transport mechanisms of soft and biological materials and how they produce macroscopic mechanical and rheological properties. I’m especially interested in viscoelastic materials with “memory” or “activity”, where driving forces can produce long-lived but unconserved order, producing dynamic instabilities and dramatic reorganization as systems relax back towards equilibrium


I work with a variety of computational tools, including reactive and coarse grained molecular dynamics, quantum chemistry, and continuum mechanics. I use these methods to study the fundamental deformation mechanisms in soft materials and develop quantitative constitutive models for their macroscopic mechanics.

Fibrillation In Drawn Polymer Fibers