(2jy) Rational Design Strategies for Engineering Hierarchical Soft Matter | AIChE

(2jy) Rational Design Strategies for Engineering Hierarchical Soft Matter


Pradeep, S. - Presenter, North Carolina State University
Research Interests:

Grand Challenge. The central challenge confronting our society today is the impact of climate change. The frequency of adverse once-in-a-lifetime weather events has increased in the past decade, causing huge loss to human life and infrastructure. How can we, as chemical engineers, design processes and assemble materials to mitigate the effects of climate change on human society?

Overview. Decarbonization of energy systems and sustainable engineering solutions for environmental systems are identified as the research areas to mitigate the effects of climate change in the long run. Building on my extensive training in the fields of transport phenomena, materials chemistry, and soft matter physics, I propose to develop a novel research theme in chemical engineering based on high-entropy soft matter. The proposed research will focus on advancing design and additive manufacturing techniques to develop earth-inspired hierarchical complex fluids to address challenges in soil carbon storage, sustainable plastic alternatives, and space manufacturing.

Proposed Research Program. The multiscale materials needed to decarbonize our society, range from the slurries used in advanced to cementitious products we employ in construction, belong to a class of soft materials, called dense structured fluids (or dense suspensions). My research group will focus on design (synthesis and assembly), mechanics (encode desire mechanical response), and manufacturing (parallelized 3D printing) of model earth-inspired hierarchical soft materials. The mechanical properties of these multiscale soft materials arise from the interplay between the individual building blocks, which in turn is a function of the inherent material properties. A fundamental understanding of how these constituent building blocks interact is important to precisely engineer their structure-flow relationship. How can we develop scalable strategies for 3D manufacturing of soft sustainable multiscale materials with desired mechanical properties? I seek to answer this question through an interdisciplinary approach and be at the forefront of the environment-soft matter-manufacturing nexus. My research group aims to employ in-house assembled opto-mechanical tools to probe and engineer multiscale soft matter microstructures. I plan to advance fundamental and applied research in a new class of multiscale earth-inspired soft suspensions along the three following research themes:

Theme 1: Designing human-soft matter interface to reverse-engineer natural materials.

Theme 2: Encoding architected material memory for precision multiscale microstructure engineering.

Theme 3: Developing voxel-based parallel additive manufacturing systems for circular economy and space manufacturing.

Research Background. During my doctoral and postdoctoral research, I investigated the effects of surface anisotropy and multiscale interactions on the flow properties of dense colloidal and granular suspensions. Combining macroscale rheology with microscopic structural characterization, I developed scaling theories, in both linear and nonlinear regimes, that can be applied to a broad class of materials. My main contribution is exploring surface anisotropy as a powerful way to engineer flow mechanics in dense suspensions. I currently work on elucidating the flow mechanics of geophysical flows, where the main challenge is the absence of constitutive models to explain flow properties of natural heterogeneous suspension mixtures. I anticipate that the approach to explain geophysical rheology through the framework established for dense colloidal and granular suspensions will help model and predict hazard potentials associated with similar low Reynolds environmental flows in the future.

Awards & Honors (Selected):

Victor K. LaMer Award Finalist, ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Science (2023)

James K. Ferrell Outstanding PhD Graduate Student Award, NC State University (2022)

Langmuir Student Award Finalist, ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Science (2021)

Provost’s University Graduate Fellowship, NC State University (2016-2017)

Prime Minister’s Merit Scholarship, Ministry of Defence, Government of India (2008-2012)

Relevant Publications: (5 out of 13)

Ranjiangshang Ran, Shravan Pradeep, Sebastien Kosgodagan Acharige, Brendan Blackwell, Christoph Kammer, Douglas J Jerolmack, and Paulo E Arratia, "Understanding the rheology of kaolinite clay suspensions using Bayesian inference", Journal of Rheology (2023).

Robert Kostynick¶, Hadis Matinpour¶, Shravan Pradeep¶, Thomas Dunne, Sarah Haber, Alban Sauret, Eckart Meiburg, Paulo E Arratia, and Douglas J Jerolmack, "Rheology of debris flows controlled by the distance from jamming", PNAS (2022).

Shravan Pradeep, Alan Wessel, and Lilian C Hsiao, "Hydrodynamic origin for the suspension viscoelasticity in rough colloids", Journal of Rheology (2022).

Shravan Pradeep, Mohammad Nabizadeh, Alan R Jacob, Safa Jamali, and Lilian C Hsiao, "Jamming distance dictates colloidal shear thickening", Physical Review Letters (2021).

Shravan Pradeep, Lilian C Hsiao, "Contact criterion in suspensions of smooth and rough colloids", Soft Matter (2020).

Teaching Summary & Interests:

Philosophy. Educating the next generation scientists is central to my vision as a researcher. I believe that the future of STEM education will focus on teaching philosophies that embrace equitable, learner-centered environments connecting real-life problems from the students’ communities. One way to maximize student-centered learning is to minimize the one-size-fits-all approach towards teaching. First, a self-reflective approach that encourages students to engage with the classroom material, critically and collaboratively, will be prioritized. To realize this goal, I plan to implement active learning techniques, such as the flipped classroom and think-pair-share, which have shown to improve the student performance. Second, an application-oriented education will be adopted. My priorities in the classroom will be focused on developing collaborative critical thinking among students, whereby students extrapolate the “ideal” classroom problems to real-life non-linear challenges. Thus, my teaching philosophy is grounded on the premise to provide student centric education that will foster confidence in problem solving skills to become competitive in industry and academia.

Experience. I have 9 semesters of extensive experience as an educator with 7 different teaching appointments across the chemical and mechanical engineering departments, both in undergraduate and graduate-level courses. During my graduate and postdoctoral work, I worked in various teaching settings (in-class and laboratory) with varying class sizes, ranging from 20 to 180. Another important milestone in my teaching preparation was obtaining “Teaching and Communications Certificate” during my doctoral studies through the NCSU Graduate School. The program provided formal training in topics such as classroom communication strategies, effective structuring of course contents, engaging with a diverse student body, and preparing a teaching portfolio.

Interests. I am interested in teaching courses pertaining to transport phenomena and thermodynamics. In addition, I would like to introduce a new interdisciplinary elective course focused on engineering soft matter mechanics, aimed at graduate and junior/senior level undergraduate students. I would like to build inclusive and collaborative classroom environments that prepare a diverse student body, both graduate and undergraduate, to tackle complex engineering challenges combining their intuition, observations, critical thinking, and core chemical engineering knowledge.