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Thomas Pence

Headshot of Thomas Pence

(517) 353-3889


Ph.D., Applied Mechanics, California Institute of Technology 1983
M.S., Applied Mechanics, California Institute of Technology 1980
B.S., Engineering Mechanics, Michigan State University 1979


Mechanical Engineering


Thomas J. Pence is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering where he conducts research and supervises students in the area of nonlinear solid mechanics. His research interests include analytical and computational modeling, highly deformable solids (rubbers, polymers, gels, tissues, biotissue, complex soft media), failure of composites, shape memory stents and soft tissue biomechanics. Pence was attracted to solid mechanics while an undergraduate at MSU and is pleased to be teaching here after earning his Ph.D. at Caltech and holding postdoctoral appointments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Paris-Orsay. He has also held visiting professor sabbatical appointments at the University of Rome and the University of Glasgow.

Professor Pence is a member of the United States National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and serves on the editorial board for the following publications:

  • Journal of Elasticity
  • International Journal of Solids and Structures
  • Journal of the Mechanics of Materials and Structures

He was also the organizer of the 17th U.S. National Congress for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics.

Select Publications

  • T. J. Pence and H. Tsai, “Bulk cavitation and the possibility of localized interface deformation due to surface layer swelling,” Journal of Elasticity 87 (2007) 161-185 (DOI 10.1007/s10659-007-9102-8).
  • H. Demirkoparan and T.J. Pence, “Swelling of an internally pressurized nonlinearly elastic tube with fiber reinforcing,” International J. Solids and Structures 44 (2007) 4009-4029 (doi:10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2006.11.006).
  • H. Demirkoparan and T.J. Pence, “The effect of fiber recruitment on the swelling of a pressurized anisotropic nonlinearly elastic tube,” International Journal of Nonlinear Mechanics 42 (2007) 258-270.

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