William Willis III

William Willis is a senior at Duke pursuing majors in Mechanical Engineering and Physics and a certificate in Aerospace Engineering. 
As a Pratt Research Fellow, William works with Dr. Bliss on developing nonlinear elastic materials for vibration reduction. He began working on the project in January 2018 and will continue through graduation. Using the combination of multiple elastic members in 2D and 3D truss configurations, William works to analyze the resulting nonlinear force response, which exhibits a flat region at certain displacements. This behavior is tested using systems of linear springs and elastic foam trusses with William designing and constructing the experimental structures. Additionally, through harmonic balance analysis, the forced dynamic response of these systems is modeled to predict behavior at resonance and other driving frequencies. With plans to adapt these systems for 3D printing or other production methods, we hope to apply his research to various applications, such as reducing helicopter blade vibrations or increasing submarine hull sound absorption.
In addition to his research with Bliss Lab, William has worked since summer 2017 with the Shell Ocean Discovery Xprize team for Duke University. To achieve the Xprize competition's goal of more accurate ocean floor mapping, he has worked mainly with designing novel synthetic aperture sonar techniques for map reconstruction. William is also the team lead for Wheel Assemblies and Control Systems for Duke University Motorsports. William plans to enter graduate school for Mechanical Engineering following graduation. Outside of engineering pursuits, he has enjoyed traveling around the U.S. and Latin America, and is president of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Duke. 

Contact Information

  • Email Address: william.a.willis@duke.edu