Modeling and Simulation of Soft Materials for Energy and Biomimetic Applications

Sunday, November 7, 2010
Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Pratyush Dayal, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Understanding systems far from equilibrium is critical for manipulating matter and can provide us with major strides in the fields of nanotechnology and materials science. My research objective is to use modeling and simulation to design systems encompassing soft materials and establish design rules to control their properties. In the proposed projects I will (1) design self-actuated cilia which autonomously propel particles or cells through microfluidic channels and thus provide “conveyor belt” functionality for lab-on-a-chip devices, (2) establish facile routes for fabricating defect-free polymeric nanocomposites which are critical for the design of efficient photovoltaics and other photonic devices, and (3) design micro/nano structured tapes and films using electrospinning technique. The primary focus of the first project is to impart synthetic materials with unique properties, such as autonomous sensing, actuation, and reconfiguration and thus, introduce new functionalities into micro-scale devices. The focus of the second project is to design materials that can potentially yield relatively inexpensive, environmentally benign sources of energy. In the third project, the objective is to facilitate the manufacture of diverse micro-structured materials that would have significant impact on industries of specialty polymers. In carrying out the above studies, I will be able to make significant contributions in the fields of active materials, nonlinear dynamics, polymer processing and biomimetics which are of particular interest to the chemical engineering, bioengineering and materials science communities.

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