Directed aging: using memory and nature’s greed as a new principle for materials design

TYPEStatistical & Bio Seminar
Speaker:Prof. Sidney Nagel
Affiliation:University of Chicago
Time:16:00 - 17:00

It is a well-known and indisputable fact that materials age and deform over time which often leads to detrimental degradation.  In contrast to this view, I will seek to embrace aging and develop it as a methodology to create desired and novel functionality in matter. The central idea is that a material retains a memory of the external stimuli to which it was exposed during its preparation history and, in reaction to those applied cues, can be directed to evolve desired behaviors not easily found otherwise. “Directed aging” thus has the potential to become a general, new and unconventional methodology for creating material function; it stands in direct juxtaposition to the normal paradigm where materials are designed for specific functions.  Just as stem cells evolve differently depending on the environment to which they are exposed, we envisage materials that develop new types of response upon exposure to different cues.  We are left with the question: How far can this vision be pushed to generate broad classes of materials with desired functionality?


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