Soft Matter Physics in Construction

Monday, November 12, 2012 - 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Regents 109
Emanuela Del Gado
Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zürich

Nowadays, sustainability and durability of engineering materials (from green cement to novel functionalized coatings) pose outstanding scientific challenges, in terms of designing novel more sustainable compounds; controlling aging processes at the nano-scale level; and developing new concepts for smart mechanical performances.

There is a fundamental contribution that soft condensed matter physics can now give to these questions, and understanding the mesoscale physics emerging in amorphous materials in the critical range of length-scales from nanometers to microns is crucial. I will show how statistical physics approaches combined with particle based nano-scale models and numerical
simulations can help us to gain significant insight into structure formation, cooperative processes, and mechanics in model soft glassy materials. Building on this, I will discuss new approaches for investigating cement hydration and setting, designing the assembly of
complex interfaces, and devising biomimetic concepts for composite materials.

Host: Jeff Urbach