CEMS Seminar Series - Dr. Nancy Sottos
Dr. Nancy R. Sottos, Maybelle Leland Swanlund Endowed Chair and Head, Department of Materials Science & Engineering and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Seminar title: "Reaction-Diffusion Driven Pattern Formation and Property Gradients in Thermosetting Polymers"
Reaction-diffusion processes are versatile, yet underexplored methods for manufacturing that provide unique opportunities to control the spatial properties of materials, achieving order through broken symmetry. Inspired by reaction-diffusion systems in nature, we seek to harness rapid reaction-thermal transport during frontal polymerization to drive the emergence of spatially varying patterns and tailor properties during the synthesis of engineering polymers and composites. Tuning of the reaction kinetics and thermal transport enables internal feedback control over thermal gradients to spontaneously pattern morphological, chemical, optical, and mechanical properties of structural materials. Functionally graded and patterned regions with two orders of magnitude change in modulus and over 200°C change in glass transition temperature are achieved in thermoset polymers. The results suggest a facile route to patterned structural materials with complex microstructures. Moreover, we envision that more sophisticated control of reaction-transport driven fronts may enable spontaneous growth of structures and patterns in synthetic materials, inaccessible by traditional manufacturing approaches.
Nancy Sottos holds the Maybelle Leland Swanlund Endowed Chair and is Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She is leader of the Autonomous Materials Systems (AMS) group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and director of the University of Illinois spoke of the BP International Center for Advanced Materials. Sottos is also a co-founder of Autonomous Materials Inc. (AMI). Inspired by autonomous function in biological systems, the Sottos group develops polymers and composites capable of self-healing and regeneration, self-reporting, and self-protection to improve reliability and extend material lifetime. Her current research interests focus on new bioinspired methods to manufacture these complex materials. Sottos’ research and teaching awards include the ONR Young Investigator Award, Scientific American's SciAm 50 Award, the Hetényi Best Paper Award in Experimental Mechanics, the M.M. Frocht and B.J. Lazan Awards from the Society for Experimental Mechanics, the Daniel Drucker Eminent Faculty Award, the IChemE Global Research Award, and the Society of Engineering Science Medal. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Society for Experimental Mechanics and the Society for Engineering Science.