October 21, 2016

Science on Tap to feature talk on Engineering 2.0, materials designed from nature

Zavattieri biometrics

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University civil engineering professor Pablo Zavattieri will discuss how nature can inspire and influence high-performance materials at next week's session of Science on Tap.

Zavattieri's talk, titled "Engineering 2.0: Millions of Years of Trial and Error Making High-Performance Materials," is at 6 p.m. on Oct. 27 on the top floor of Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. The informal lecture, sponsored by the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, the College of Engineering and Discovery Park, is free and open to those 21 and older.

"Nature has evolved efficient strategies to synthesize materials that often exhibit exceptional mechanical properties that break the trade-offs often achieved by man-made materials and have other functionalities," Zavattieri said. "In fact, most biological composite materials achieve higher toughness without sacrificing stiffness and strength comparing to typical engineering material."

Zavattieri specializes in bioinspiration or biomimetics, the branch of science that decodes how nature employs these strategies in order to use these guidelines for engineering applications. His talk will focus on the evolution of naturally occurring impact-resistant materials such as abalones, mantis shrimps, chitons, beetles and fish scales, and how engineers can learn more from them.

Zavattieri mantis Purdue civil engineering professor Pablo Zavattieri is examining bioinspiration or biomimetics, the branch of science that decodes how nature employs these. (Purdue University photo/provided)
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"There is a strong demand for new paradigms of design of advanced high-performance structural materials with high strength and durability that are low-cost and renewable. And nature could inspire that new paradigm," he said.

Zavattieri is a former staff researcher at the General Motors Research and Development Center, where he led research in computational mechanics, smart and biomimetic materials. Throughout his career he has focused on the fundamental aspects of how nature uses efficient ways to make remarkable and sustainable materials. His current research lies at the interface between mechanics and materials engineering.

Zavattieri received his bachelor's and master's degrees in nuclear engineering from the Balseiro Institute in Argentina and his doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from Purdue in 2000. He joined the Purdue faculty in 2009.

Science on Tap, led by graduate students Andrew Hesselbrock, Paula Cooper and Carolina Vivas Valencia, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations that are designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the event has averaged 80 during the program's first five years.  

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Paige Pope, 219-363-2599, popep@purdue.edu 

Sources: Pablo Zavattieri, 765-496-9644, zavattie@purdue.edu

Carolina Vivas Valencia, cvivas@purdue.edu

Paula Cooper, porourk@purdue.edu  

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