MAE Candidate Seminar – New Mechanics for Surfaces of Soft, Hydrated Materials


12:45 pm-2:00 pm
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MAE-A Room 303
939 Sweetwater Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


New Mechanics for Surfaces of Soft, Hydrated Materials

Thursday, April 13, 2023, at 12:50 pm
Location: In-Person MAE-A, Room 303

Alison C. Dunn, PhD
Associate Professor, Mechanical Science & Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)

The mechanical science of materials was developed by our academic predecessors, and we use engineering materials in ways that are predictable and safe; however, the future is one where the extreme and unique properties drive the use of materials.This is especially true for soft materials, which have started a revolution in engineering solutions for complex problems in human health and water purification. Specifically, hydrogels are known for their low friction, or lubricity, but new mechanics are needed in order to translate surface properties into real hydrogel engineering solutions. Thus in this talk I will describe the advent of three new approaches to hydrogel surface mechanics discovered through careful micromechanical experimentation. The first approach will show how competing rates of fluid exudation and sliding control friction. The second approach will validate the sliding surface behavior by analogy to history-dependent effects in complex fluids. And the third approach will demonstrate the effects of a gradient-stiffness surface on contact mechanics and slip. These characterizations aim to provide mechanistic design guidance for surface performance of high-water-content hydrogels.

Alison C. Dunn is an associate professor in Mechanical Science & Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA). Her laboratory aim is to emulate and exploit surface properties & structures to control sliding interfaces using experiments and theory. She works on soft materials like hydrogels and silicone, as well as insect cuticle and hardened steel. Selected awards include the NSF CAREER award, the ASME Burt L. Newkirk Award, and the TMS Frontiers of Materials award.

MAE Faculty Host: Thomas Angelini


Hosted by

UF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering