Profile picture for user sovan
Dr. Sovan Lal Das
Associate Professor
Email Me
View CV:


Ph. D., Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Cornell University, 2007.

M. Sc. (Engg.): Mechanical Engineering, IISc, Bangalore, 2002

B. E.: Mechanical Engineering, Jadavpur University, 1999.



December 2018 - Present: Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, IIT Palakkad

December 2016 - December 2018: Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur

January 2015 - July 2015: Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Delhi

June 2014 - December 2016: Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Kanpur.

November 2009 - June 2014: Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Kanpur.

October 2008 - October 2009: Senior Research Engineer, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Technology, Akron, OH, USA.

January 2007 - Sepember 2008: Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Mathematics, Penn State University, USA.

August 1999 - July 2000: Graduate Trainee Engineer, L&T Ltd, India.



Main focus of our group is developing and/or applying continuum theory (mechanics and thermodynamics) based models and perform experiments to elucidate the role of cell membrane and its mechanical properties in various cell-biological processes. Membranes in a cell are primarily made of lipid bilayer. Understanding the role of lipid bilayer in the functionality of animal cells is key towards the knowhow of fundamental cell biological processes. It is believed that the membrane actively controls its curvature and composition to influence cellular processes such as signaling between proteins, sorting of proteins and lipids, adhesion. One of the key questions in biology is how the complex shapes in organelle such as Golgi network and endoplasmic reticulum are generated and maintained, and how they relate to cell function? Several membrane bound proteins are known to actively participate in generating, regulating and sensing membrane curvature. We have developed mechanics-thermodynamics based models for such curvature sorting of proteins in a biophysical system consisting of a cylindrical membrane tube connected to a giant lipid bilayer vesicle.

Mechanical properties of a membrane play key role in processes such as adhesion and motion of microdomains in lipid bilayer. An important question in mechanics is how adhesion influences the physical behavior of thin structures like vesicles and cells. We will be developing a paradigm for modeling adhesion of soft structures (not just limited to biological membrane) that can deform and rotate by large amounts. Our study will find use in many other areas such as contact of polymers, thin optical fibers, design of novel adhesives.

Apart from the membrane mechanics research, we have also been involved in collaborative studies on the parametric instability of cylindrical shells, low velocity impact on a layered composite films made of soft and stiff layers, standing waves in tires and inextensional vibration of carbon nanotubes using nonlocal elasticity theories.

A list of topics we (including collaborations) have been studying for a while are:

Adhesion and contact mechanics of soft and thin structures. Collaborators:  Ishan Sharma and Bhuvana T (IIT Kanpur).

Protein sorting in membranes with high curvature. Collaborators: Tobias Baumgart (University of Pennsylvania, USA), P. B. Sunil Kumar (IIT Madras/IIT Palakkad), Sarvanan Matheswaran (IIT Kanpur), Sasa Svetina and Bojan Bozic (University of Ljubljana).

Motion and growth of raft-like domains in vesicle membranes. Collaborator:  Bhuvana T (IIT Kanpur).

Inextensional vibrations of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Collaborator:  Shakti Singh Gupta (IIT Kanpur).

Parametric instability of cylindrical shells under radial loading. Collaborator: Pankaj Wahi (IIT Kanpur).



CE1020, Engineering Mechanics, IIT Palakkad, 2019

ME10001, Mechanics, IIT Kharagpur, 2017, 2018

ME352, Theory of Mechanisms and Machines, IIT Kanpur 2016.

ESO209, Dynamics, IIT Kanpur 2016.

ME622, Introduction to Continuum Mechanics, IIT Kanpur, 2016.

ME721, Theory of Plasticity, IIT Kanpur, 2015.

ME 724, Mechanics of Biological Membranes, IIT Kanpur, 2011 & 2014.

ME30602, Design of Machine Elements, IIT Kharagpur, 2017, 2018 

ME351, Design of Machine Elements, IIT Kanpur, 2014, 2016

ME 781, Approximate Methods in Engineering Mathematics, IIT Kanpur, 2013.

ME471, Mechanical Engineering Lab (Solid Mechanics), IIT Kanpur, 2013.

BSE 314, Biomechanics, IIT Kanpur, 2012 & 2013.

ME 622, Theory of Elasticity, IIT Kanpur, 2011.

ME 621, Introduction to Solid Mechanics, IIT Kanpur, 2010.

ME 652, Principles of Dynamics, IIT Kanpur, 2010.

MATH 220, Linear Algebra, Penn State University, 2007 & 2008.

MATH 140, Calculus, Penn State University, 2007.

MATH 191, Calculus, Cornell University, 2006.

Research Group

Current Students:

Ananta Kumar Nayak (Ph. D. Candidate at IIT Kharagpur) - Supervisor Dr. Vikranth Racherla

Krishnan S (Ph. D. Candidate at IIT Kanpur) - Supervisor Dr. Ishan Sharma

Former Students:

Anish Kumar (Ph. D., 2017); Postdoctoral Scholar, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel,

Paritosh Mahata (Ph. D., 2016): Assistant Professor, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra

Laxminarsimha Rao (Ph. D., 2016): Postdoctoral Scholar, JNCASR, Bangalore

Suhail Rizvi (Ph. D., 2016): Postdoctoral Scholar,  CNRS, Grenoble, France

Pranav Vyas (M. Tech, 2017): Joined PhD Program in Bioengineering, Stanford University

Hemant Singh (M. Tech, 2017): In Industry

Harshit Gangwar (M. Tech, 2016): Launched a start-up Company

Soumyadipta Das (M. Tech., 2013): Working in Renault-Nissan Technology and Business Center, Chennai.

Pankaj Singh (M. Tech, 2012): Joined PhD program in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University.

Subhradeep Roy (M. Tech., 2012): Joined PhD program in Engineering Science and Mechanics,Virginia Tech.

Debapriya Pinaki Mohanty (M. Tech., 2012): Joined PhD program in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University.

Tanmay Mandal (M. Tech., 2012): Working in Tata Motors, Jamshedpur.

Vishal Sharma (M. Tech., 2011): Working in Mercedes Benz, Bangalore.

Research Area
Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
Contact Mechanics of Thin Structures
Additional Information
Sponsored Projects

Contact mechanics of soft and thin adhesive structures, DST, 2018-2021 (PI: I Sharma, IIT Kanpur)

Membrane curvature sensing and generation by proteins in lipid bilayer membrane, DBT, 2015-2018, (Co-PI: P. B. Sunil Kumar, IIT Madras and S. Matheshwaran, IIT Kanpur)

Motion and Interactions of Domains in Fluid Lipid Membranes, SERB, DST, 2012-2015


Recent Publications

Sachin Krishnan, T. V., Das, S. L. and Sunil Kumar, P. B
Soft Matter DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02623H (2019)
Mohanty, D. P., Laxminarsimha Rao V., Das, S. L., and Ghatak, A.
Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology 31 1647 (2017)
Kumar, A., Das, S. L., and Wahi, P.
International Journal of Mechanical Sciences 122 37 (2017)