Prof. Eric Dufresne will describe some experiments on some simple composites of elastomers and droplets. First, we will consider their composite mechanical properties. He will show how simple liquid droplets can counterintuitively stiffen the material, and how magnetorheological fluid droplets can provide elastomers with magnetically switchable shape memory. Second, we consider the nucleation, growth, and ripening of droplets within an elastomer. Here, a variety of interesting phenomena emerge: size-tunable monodisperse droplets, shape-tunable droplets, and ripening of droplets along stiffness gradients. We are exploiting these phenomena to make materials with mechanically switchable structural color.
Biography: Eric Dufresne is the Professor of Soft and Living Materials at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH). His research focuses on the physics of Soft Materials. Current topics include interfacial properties, mechanics, and self-assembly in biological and synthetic systems. Before moving to ETH, Eric was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, a post-doc at Harvard University, and a professor at Yale University.