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MSE Seminar: “Natural Structural Materials: Lessons on Toughening Mechanisms, Weight Reduction, and Multifunctionality” (Virginia Tech University)
March 30 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Structural materials that are damage tolerant, lightweight, multifunctional, and sustainable are highly desirable for many engineering applications. Such combinations of properties are often found in the biological world. Organisms from nature construct a variety of different biological structural materials for protection, predation, body support, camouflage, etc. Despite the fact that these materials are made from limited constituent materials with usually poor intrinsic mechanical properties, such as brittle minerals and soft biopolymers, biological materials are often able to achieve remarkable mechanical properties while offering additional functionalities simultaneously, such as low density, coloration, transparency, flexibility, visual sensitivity, etc. In this talk, I will present our recent work in elucidating the fundamental structure-property relationships in some natural structural materials by focusing on their strategies in achieving damage tolerance, weight reduction, and multifunctionality. In particular, I will present a unique damage-tolerant, dual-scale, single-crystalline, low-density microlattice that we recently discovered in an echinoderm skeletal system. Our research combines quantitative multiscale 3D structural analysis, in-situ mechanical analysis, theoretical and computational modeling, and design and manufacturing of bio-inspired materials. I hope this talk can stimulate more discussions among research areas such as material synthesis, biomimetics, mechanics, biology, and manufacturing.
Assistant Professor and Mary V. Jones Faculty Fellow Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech
Dr. Ling Li is currently an Assistant Professor and Mary V. Jones Faculty Fellow of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech University. Dr. Li obtained his B.S. (2008) and Ph.D. (2014) degrees both in Materials Science and Engineering from NUS and MIT, respectively. He onducted his postdoctoral study at Harvard prior to his position at Virginia Tech. His research aims to understand the fundamental structure-property relationships and formation mechanisms of biological structural materials via a combination of experimental and computational approaches, and to develop bio-inspired structural and multifunctional materials. Dr. Li has received a number of prestigious awards, including Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award (2016), AFOSR Young Investigator Award (2018), Outstanding Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech University (2019), 3M Non-Tenure Faculty Award (2020), NSF CAREER Award (2020), and College of Engineering Faculty Fellow (2022). His research has been published in Science (three articles with two covers), PNAS, Nature Materials, Nature Communication, which are widely reported by many media outlets, such as ScienceDaily, Yahoo News, Discovery News, etc.