MSE Seminar: Chemically Controlled Shape-morphing of Elastic Sheets

Friday, September 10, 2021
1:00 p.m.
Zoom only
Sherri Tatum

Speaker: Anna C. Balazs, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh

Title:  Chemically Controlled Shape-morphing of Elastic Sheets 


Two-dimensional responsive materials that change shape into complex three-dimensional structures are valuable for creating systems ranging from wearable electronics to soft robotics. Typically, the final 3D structure is unique and predetermined through the materials’ processing.  Using theory and simulation, we devise a distinctive approach for driving shape changes of 2D elastic sheets in fluid-filled microchambers. The sheets are coated with catalyst to generate controllable fluid flows, which transform the sheets into complex 3D shapes. A given shape can be achieved by patterning the arrangement of the catalytic domains on the sheet and introducing the appropriate reactant to initiate a specific catalytic reaction. Moreover, a single sheet that encompasses multiple catalytic domains can be transformed into a variety of 3D shapes through the addition of one or more reactants. Materials systems that morph on-demand into a variety of distinct structures can simplify manufacturing processes and broaden the utility of soft materials.


Anna C. Balazs is the Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and holds the John Swanson Chair of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her B.A. in physics from BrynMawrCollegeand her Ph.D. in materials science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After postdoctoral work in the Polymer Science Department at the Universityof Massachusetts, Amherst, she joined the faculty at the Universityof Pittsburgh. Her research involves developing theoretical and computational models to capture the behavior of polymeric materials, nanocomposites and multi-component fluids. Balazs is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Materials Research Society. She was a Visiting Fellow at Corpus ChristiCollege, OxfordUniversityin 2000-2001 and 2007-2008. Recently, she received the American Physical Society Polymer Physics Prize (2016), Royal Society of Chemistry S F Boys-A Rahman Award (2015), American Chemical Society Langmuir Lecture Award (2014) and the Mines Medal from the South Dakota School of Mines (2013) and was inducted into the National Academy of Science in 2021.

Audience: Campus 

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