Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Horstemeyer, Mark F.

Committee Member

Wang, Anzhong

Committee Member

Haupt, Tomasz

Committee Member

Yarahmadian, Shantia

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Computational Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Computational Engineering Program


We introduce an elastic constitutive model of gravity that enables the interpretation of cosmological observations in terms of established ideas from Solid Mechanics and multiscale modeling. The behavior of physical space is identified with that of a material-like medium called "cosmic fabric," which exhibits constitutive behavior. This cosmic fabric is a solid hyperplate that is broad in the three ordinary spatial dimensions and thin in a fourth hyperspatial dimension. Matter in space is treated as fabric inclusions that prescribe in-plane (three-dimensional) strain causing the transverse bending of the fabric into the fourth hyperspatial dimension. The linearized Einstein-Hilbert action, which governs the dynamics of physical space, is derived from postulating Hooke’s Law for the fabric, and the Schwarzschild metric is recovered from investigating matterabric interactions. At the continuum length scale, the Principle of Relativity is shown to apply for both moving and stationary observers alike, so that the fabric’s rest reference frame remains observationally indistinguishable at such a length scale. Within the Cosmic Fabric paradigm, the structural properties of space at different hierarchical length scales can be investigated using theoretical notions and computational tools from solid mechanics to address outstanding problems in cosmology and fundamental physics. For example, we propose and offer theoretical support for the "Inherent Structure Hypothesis", which states that the gravitational anomalies currently attributed to dark matter may in fact be manifestations of the inherent (undeformed) curvature of space. In addition, we develop a numerical framework wherein one can perform numerical "experiments" to investigate the implications of said hypothesis.