Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

COE/Structural Mechanics Seminar


Designing Self-propelled, Chemically Active Sheets: Wrappers, Flappers and Creepers


Prof. Anna Balazs


University of Pittsburg


Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 10:00:00 AM


Love Building, Room 109


Dr. Yuhang Hu


Catalyst-coated, hard particles can spontaneously generate fluid flows, which in turn propel the particles through the fluid. If the catalyst-coated object were a deformable sheet, the self-generated flows could affect not only the sheets motion, but also its shape. By developing models that capture the interrelated chemical, hydrodynamic and mechanical interactions, we uncover novel behavior emerging from the previously-unstudied coupling between active, soft sheets and the surrounding fluid. The chemically-generated flows sculpt the sheet into various forms that yield different functionalities, which can be tailored by modifying the sheets geometry, patterning the sheets surface with different catalysts and employing cascades of chemical reactions. These studies reveal how to achieve both spatial and temporal control over the position and shape of active sheets and thus, utilize the layers to autonomously and controllably trap soft objects, perform logic operations and execute multi-stage processes in fluid-filled microchambers.


Anna C. Balazs is a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and holds the John A. Swanson Endowed Chair in Engineering the at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her B.A. in physics from Bryn Mawr College in 1975 and her Ph.D. in materials science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981. 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 Christi College, Oxford University. She has served on a number of editorial boards, including: Macromolecules, Langmuir, Accounts of Chemical Research, and Soft Matter. She was Chair of the American Physical Society Division of Polymer Physics in 1999-2000. She received a Special Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation. In 2003, she received the Maurice Huggins Memorial Award of the Gordon Research Conference for outstanding contributions to Polymer Science. Recently, she has received the American Physical Society Polymer Physics Prize (2016), the Royal Society of Chemistry S F Boys-A Rahman Award (2015), the American Chemical Society Langmuir Lecture Award (2014) and the Mines Medal from the South Dakota School of Mines (2013).


Refreshments will be served.