I’m a PhD student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the field of materials and currently working on supersonic material deposition methods. I investigate fracture toughness, fatigue, fracture propagation, adhesion and cohesion of cold sprayed metals. I use molecular dynamics for fundamental understanding of the binding process along with experiments at nano to macro scales, including adhesion energy measurement from micro sized particles using the AFM (atomic force microscopy).
One of my fields of interest is bio-inspired materials and the unique mechanics involved in biomaterials such as bone and nacre.
The biomaterial, nacre, consists of 95% bio-ceramics and 5% organic matrix. The bio-ceramic has a hexagonal structure from the top-down cross section and a brick and mortar structure from the front cross section, with the mortar being the organic matrix.
The organic matrix is a solution of proteins, keratin and other natural polymers. The combination of the organic polymers and the surrounding ceramic confinement in nano-scale, result in a strength greater than the individual materials. The coupled system acts to dissipate the energy driving the fracture within the material.
Mother nature has evolved its structures to the most stable conformation in order to simply exist. This field enables us to learn from nature and apply its art of survival in stable yet efficient material configurations.
We can use these subjects to build advanced materials for high temperature, under high vibration aerospace applications, tough armors to protect lives, cost effective building blocks on Earth and Mars and to understand fundamentals of polymeric systems and their conformational changes under stress.