When 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Oct 06, 2006
Where 1670 CSE
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Chemomechanics of metastable material surfaces & interfaces: Exploring the molecular scale when far from equilibrium


Krystyn Van Vliet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Coupling between the chemical and mechanical states of materials enables applications such as actuators and transducers, defines the environmental susceptibility of mechanical stiffness and strength, and facilitates all biological processes in cells including adhesion, migration, and differentiation. Metastable materials, defined as systems that are far from the equilibrium states that thermodynamics can predict, are especially rich examples of how this chemomechanical coupling produces functional changes of material state. We study this coupling in a range of material systems including supersaturated metal alloys, nanoscale amorphous oxides, synthetic polymer thin films, and living mammalian cells and microbes. Here, I will discuss our recent progress in the nanoscale experiments and multiscale computational modeling and simulation of three such material systems, and share what we have learned about the challenges of modeling and understanding material behavior under conditions that are far from equilibrium.

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