Grand Challenge: The central issue facing our society today is climate change. The frequency of adverse once-in-a-lifetime weather events has increased in the past decade, causing huge loss to human life and infrastructure. How can we, as engineers, design processes and assemble materials to mitigate the effects of climate change on human society?

My research focuses on design, mechanics, and manufacturing of geo-inspired architected materials. Soil on earth’s surface is a metastable material and is composed of diverse range of fluid-particulate mixtures. Increasing frequency of extreme weather events trigger collective rearrangements among the microscopic soil particulates. This results in the loss of stability and eventually material failure, following large-scale geophysical flows, such as mudslides. One way to minimize the effects of earth matter instability is to design and proble mechanical properties in complex fluids, that mimic soil-like microstructure. The interplay between the individual building blocks is a function of the respective material properties and a fundamental understanding on how they interact is important for large scale manufacturing of engineered earth-mediated matter. How can we develop scalable strategies for 3D manufacturing of soft geo-inspired materials with desired mechanical properties? I seek to answer this question through an interdisciplinary approach solving both fundamental and applied soft manufacturing research problems and be at the forefront of the environment-soft matter-manufacturing nexus.

Current and Past Research

During my doctoral and postdoctoral research, I investigated the effects of surface anisotropy and multiscale interactions on the flow properties of dense colloidal and granular suspensions. Combining macroscale rheology with microscopic structural characterization, I developed scaling theories, in both linear and nonlinear regimes, that can be applied to broad class of materials. My main contribution is exploring surface anisotropy as a powerful way to engineering flow mechanics in dense suspensions. I currently work on elucidating the flow mechanics of geophysical flows, where the main challenge is the absence of constitutive models to explain flow properties of natural heterogeneous suspension mixtures.