Physics Colloquium: Soft gels and sustainable cements (Prof. Emanuela Del Gado, Georgetown University)
Prof. Emanuela Del Gado, Georgetown University
Abstract: Many materials we eat, spread, squeeze, or 3D print are gels, soft amorphous solids whose solid component is constituted by a network of self-assembled particles or agglomerated smaller units (proteins, polymers, or other particulates). The solidification processes in these materials are typically sources of frozen-in stresses and help build a memory of the processing history. Moreover, the disorder in the stress-bearing structure promotes and enhances stress localization under load. I will discuss how computational statistical physics can reveal the organizing principles underlying the response of these complex and ubiquitous materials, and how the novel understanding developed has implications for performances and sustainability of new and old materials.