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Research:  Solid mechanics applied to the multi-scale analysis and design of advanced and novel architectured materials, interfaces and complex structures. Our research interests lie at the interface between Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering with focus on the development of novel materials that exhibit paradigm-shifting properties for various applications that can impact the general field of infrastructure and lightweight structural materials. Our contribution to solid mechanics has been focused on the structure-function relationship of advanced materials at multiple length-scales, combining state-of-the-art computational techniques and experiments to characterize the properties, and enabling the design of novel materials. Our arly work on micromechanical models for materials has provided a robust framework for combined computational/experimental investigations of polycrystalline materials. Our contribution to fracture mechanics includes the development of a new fracture models for thin-walled structures and their implementation in commercial finite element codes. We also made contributions in the area of smart materials, structures and smart composites (with a total of 10 patents and 5 other published patent applications). We have recently worked on solid mechanics problems related to biological and biomimetic materials. Our group pioneered the use of the 3D printing technology for the fabrication of scaled-up biomimetic composites and its combination with theoretical/computational models and experiments to unveil the most important toughening mechanisms found in some of most impact resistant natural materials. Our most recent work has focused on architectured metamaterials, smart and programmable materials. See below some examples and related papers.

For a more complete list of publications click [here]
Watch some videos related to our research:
 Youtube Channel        

Selected Research Projects
  • Convergent Evolution To Engineering: Multiscale Structures And Mechanics In Damage Tolerant Functional Bio-Composite And Biomimetic Materials - DoD/MURI 2015-2018.
  • CAREER: "Multiscale Investigation and Mimicry of Naturally-Occurring Ultra-High Performance Composite Materials," NSF Faculty Early Career Development 2013-2018.
  • Phase Transforming Cellular Materials, NSF-Goali, 2015-2018.
  • A Multiscale Strategy for the Modeling of the mechanical performance of hoop and loop fasteners based on a detachment zone model (DZM). Velcro Co. 2013-2016.
  • Collaborative Research: 3D Printing of Civil Infrastructure Material with Controlled Microstructural Architectures, NSF, 2016-2019.
  • Scalable Nanomanufacturing. SNM: Roll-To-Roll Manufacturing Of Films And Laminates Based On Cellulose Nanomaterials, NSF, 2014-2018.
  • Concrete Patching Materials And Techniques An Guidelines For Hot Weather Concreting INDOT/JTRP, 2014-2016.
  • Investigating The Need For Hma Drainage Layers INDOT/JTRP2015-2016.
  • Toward Performance Related Specifications for Concrete Pavements INDOT/JTRP, 2014-2016.
  • Damage-tolerant Biological Composites Derived from the Teeth of a Giant Chiton AFOSR 2012-2017.
  • Uncovering and Validating Toughening Mechanisms in High Performance Composites, AFOSR 2012-2016.

Related Projects:

Biological and biomimetic materials research: 
Identification of deformation and failure mechanisms of the hierarchical structure of hard biological materials through different length scale, with emphasis on biomineralized marine organisms such as mollusk shells, radular teeth and crustaceans exoskeletons.  Biomimetics applied to the intelligent design of materials: Design and modeling of synthetic nano/micro-composites mimicking hard biological materials using bioinspired damage mitigation strategies. Development of multiscale models for bio-inspired materials. Strong collaboration with material scientists, chemists and biologists.

Our group is currently focused on two remarkable hard biological materials, the chiton’s radular teeth and nacre. (Current work is being done in collaboration with Prof. David Kisailus' group at UC Riverside.)

The radular teeth of chitons, a group of elongated mollusks that are able to erode hard substrates, has a remarkable damage tolerance and abrasion resistance properties.  Its rod-like structured made of of magnetite grains,  is shown to exhibit remarkable hardness and stiffness (even harder than human enamel).

The second material is nacre, found in certain sea shells, an excellent example of material design and optimization for extreme strength and toughness. Although this materials is constituted by 95% of a brittle ceramic (CaCO3), it exhibits a remarkable toughness without sacrificing strength. In fact, nacre is 3000 times tougher than its constituent ceramic material. 

MURI Project:   Our lab is part of a multi-university and multi- disciplinary  (MURI) team   "Convergent Evolution to Engineering: Multiscale Structures and mechanics in Damage Tolerant Functional Bio-Composite and Biomimetic Maetrials". Awarded by the Department of Defense ($7.5M) this project will study  over 20 organisms, including mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, fosils, insects and plants  to develop strong, tough materials based on their design structures. Press Release [@Purdue] [@UCR]

Collaborators: David Kisailus, Cheryl Hayashi (University of California Riverside), Joanna McKittrick, Marc Meyers (University of California San Diego), Horacio Espinosa (Northwestern University) and  Robert Ritchie (University of California Berkeley).

Most relevant Papers:

  • F. Barthelat, H. Tang, P.D. Zavattieri, C-M. Li and H.D. Espinosa, ”On the mechanics of mother-of-pearl: A key feature in the material hierarchical structure”, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 55(2), pp. 306-337, 2007 (Top 10 Most Cited Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids Article during the last 5 years). . [Download PDF]
  • J.E. Rim, P. Zavattieri, A. Juster, H. Espinosa, “Dimensional analysis and parametric studies for designing artificial nacre”,  Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 4(2), pp. 190-211, 2011. [Download PDF]
  • H. Espinosa, A. Juster, F. Latourte, D. Gregoire, O. Loh, P. Zavattieri, “ Tablet-Level Origin of Toughening in Abalone Shells and Translation to Synthetic Composite Materials ”,   Nature Communications, 2, 173, doi:a10.1038/ncomms1172 , 2011. [Download PDF]

Mantis Shrimp:
  • James C. Weaver, Garrett W. Milliron, Ali Miserez, Kenneth Evans-Lutterodt, Steven Herrera, Isaias Gallana, William J. Mershon, Brook Swanson, Pablo Zavattieri, Elaine DiMasi, and David Kisailus, "The Stomatopod Dactyl Club: A Formidable Damage-Tolerant Biological Hammer",  Science, 336 (no. 6086), pp. 1275-1280, June 2012. [Download PDF].
  • L.K. Grunenfelder, N. Suksangpanya, C. Salinas, G. Milliron, N. Yaraghi, S. Herrera, K. Evans-Lutterodt, S.R. Nutt, P. Zavattieri, D. Kisailus,“Bio-Inspired Impact Resistant Composites", Acta Biomaterialia, 10(9), pp. 3997-4008, 2014. (DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.03.022)  [Download PDF]
  • N. Guarín-Zapata, J.D. Gomez, N. Yaraghi, D. Kisailus, P.D. Zavattieri, "Shear Wave Filtering in Naturally-Occurring Bouligand Structures", Acta Biomaterialia, 23, pp. 11-20, 2015.23, pp. 11-20, 2015. [Download PDF]
  • Yaraghi, N. A., Guarín-Zapata, N., Grunenfelder, L. K., Hintsala, E., Bhowmick, S., Hiller, J. M., Betts, M., Principe, E. L., Jung, J.-Y., Sheppard, L., Wuhrer, R., McKittrick, J., Zavattieri, P. D. and Kisailus, D. (2016), "A Sinusoidally Architected Helicoidal Biocomposite". Advanced Materials, 28(32), pp. 6835-6844, 2016 [Download PDF]

Chiton/Rod-like structures:
  • L.K. Grunenfelder, E. Escobar de Obaldia, Q. Wang, D. Li, B. Weden, C. Salinas, R. Wuhrer, P.  Zavattieri and D.  Kisailus, Stress and Damage Mitigation from Oriented Nanostructures within the Radular Teeth of Cryptochiton stelleri", Advanced Functional Materials, 24(39), pp. 6085-6240, 2014 (DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201401091) [Download PDF][Cover Page]
  • E. Escobar de Obaldia, C. Jeong, L.K. Grunenfelderb, D. Kisailus, P. Zavattieri,  "Analysis of the mechanical response of biomimetic materials with highly oriented microstructures through 3D printing, mechanical testing and modeling", Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 48, pp. 70-85, 2015 (Top 3 Most Downloaded JMBBM Article - July 2015)  [Download PDF]
  • E. Escobar de Obaldia, S. Herrera, L.K. Grunenfelder, D. Kisailus, P. Zavattieri,"Competing mechanism in the wear resistance behavior of biomineralized rod-like microstructures", Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 96, pp. 511-534, 2016.   [Download PDF]

NanoHUB tools: S Lee; C. Gomez, P. Zavattieri; A. Strachan (2011), "Bio Composite Simulator," DOI: 10254/nanohub-r12273.1.    link:

Nanomechanics of cellulose: Study and characterization of the hierarchical structure-mechanical response relationship of the cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) to understand how they can achieve their full potential for the new generation of green and renewable materials. Development of new theories, novel multiscale computational tools and continuum/discrete models to properly describe and predict the mechanical behavior of cellulose nanocrystals. Development of mesoscale nonlocal models for adhesion between nanocrystals with strong connection to in-situ experiments with application to the processing of  cellulose-based nanocomposites. Collaboration with experimental and processing groups across campus.
Cellulose nanocrystals
CNCs modeling

Current collaborators: Ashlie Martini, Robert Moon, Jeffry Youngblood and Jason Weiss
More information at the NanoForestry Web site


Most relevant Papers:

Modeling of Cellulose NanoCrystals (CNCs)
  • F. Dri,  L.H. Hector Jr., R. J. Moon, P.D. Zavattieri,“Anisotropy of the Elastic Properties of Crystalline Cellulose Iβ from First Principles Density Functional Theory with Van der Waals Interactions”,   Cellulose, 20(6), pp. 2703-2718, 2013[Download PDF]
  • F. Dri, R. Moon, P. Zavattieri, ”Multiscale Modeling of the Hierarchical Structure of Cellulose Nanocrystals”, in Production and Applications of Cellulose Nanoparticles.  Ed. M.T. Postek, R. J. Moon, A. Rudie, M. Bilodeau, TAPPI Press. (June 2013). [Download PDF]
  • F. Dri, S Shang, L.G. Hector Jr,P. Saxe, Z-K Liu, R. Moon and P.D. Zavattieri, "Anisotropy and temperature dependence
  • of structural, thermodynamic, and elastic properties of crystalline cellulose Iβ: a first-principles investigation",  Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering, 22 085012, 2014.[Download PDF].
  • F.L. Dri, X. Wu, R.J. Moon, A. Martini, P.D. Zavattieri, "Evaluation of reactive force fields for prediction o fthe thermo-mechanical properties of cellulose Iβ", Computational Materials Science, 109, pp. 330-340, 2015 [Download PDF]
NanoHUB tools:
  1. Mateo Gómez Zuluaga; Robert J. Moon; Fernando Luis Dri; Pablo Daniel Zavattieri (2013), "Crystalline Cellulose - Atomistic Toolkit," DOI: 10.4231/D35T3G03.    Link:
  2.  Mateo Gómez Zuluaga; Fernando Luis Dri; Pablo Daniel Zavattieri; Robert J. Moon (2013), "Anisotropy Calculator - 3D Visualization Toolkit," DOI: 10.4231/D3K06X13R   Link:
  3.  Kuo Tian, Mehdi Shishehbor, Pablo Daniel Zavattieri (2016), "Coarse Graining of Crystalline Cellulose", DOI: :10.4231/D3930NW4D. Link:

CNC/Cement Composites
  • Y. Cao, P. Zavattieri, J. Youngblood, R. Moon, J. Weiss "The influence of cellulose nanocrystal additions on the performance of cement paste", Cement and Concrete Composites, 56, pp. 73-83, 2014. [Download PDF]
  • Y. Cao, W.J. Weiss, J. Youngblood, R. Moon, P. Zavattieri, “Performance enhanced cementitious materials by cellulose nanocrystal additions”, in Production and Applications of Cellulose Nanomaterials. Ed. M.T. Postek, R. J. Moon, A. Rudie, M. Bilodeau, TAPPI Press.  (June 2013). [Download PDF]
  • Y. Cao, P. Zavattieri, J. Youngblood, R. Moon, J. Weiss, "The relationship between cellulose nanocrystal dispersion and strength", Construction and Building Materials,  119, pp. 71–79,  2016 [Download PDF]
  • Y. Cao, N. Tian, D. Bahr, P.D. Zavattieri, J. Youngblood, R.J. Moon, J.Weiss, "The influence of cellulose nanocrystals on the microstructure of cement paste", Cement and Concrete Composites, 74, pp. 164-173, 2016. [Download PDF]

Multi-functional cellular materials with programmable properties: Design and analysis of active-material based periodic cellular microstructures  to obtain materials that have the capability to (1) change and adapt their key macroscopic properties to certain changes in the loading and environmental conditions (switchable/adaptable mechanical properties), (2) to adapt their shapes to new configurations (morphable and reconfigurable surfaces and structures), (3) exert forces and induce motion for specific tasks (actuation).  Study of adaptive materials with real-time microstructural control, patterned microstructures with controlled auxectic behavior and self-adapatable materials.

Innovative energy  absorbing materials have potential uses in buildings, helmets [Purdue Press][]

Some videos: [Programmable Cellular Materials] [Phase Transforming Cellular Materials]
smart materials

Most relevant Papers:

Phase Transforming Cellular Materials:
  • D. Restrepo, N.D. Mankame, P.D. Zavattieri, "Phase Transforming Cellular Materials", Extreme Mechanics Letters, 2015 [Download PDF]

Programmable Cellular Materials:
  • D. Restrepo, N. D. Mankame and P. D. Zavattieri, “Shape Memory Polymer based Cellular Materials”,  Mechanics of time-dependent materials and processes in conventional and multifunctional materials, v. 3, Society for Experimental Mechanics , 2011. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-0213-8_15.[Download PDF]
  • D. Restrepo, N. Mankame, P. Zavattieri,"Programmable materials based on periodic cellular solids. Part I", International Journal of Solids and Structures, 100-101, pp. 485–504, 2016, 2016.  [Download PDF]
  • D. Restrepo, N. Mankame, P. Zavattieri,"Programmable materials based on periodic cellular solids. Part II", International Journal of Solids and Structures, 100-101, pp. 505–522, 2016.  [Download PDF]

Areas of Expertise: 

Computational Solid/Structural Mechanics: Modeling of damage and fracture of advanced materials. Micromechanics, fracture mechanics and interfacial fracture mechanics. Development of micromechanical models for brittle and composite materials. Multiscale modeling of crack propagation and fragmentation.. Development and application of cohesive zone models for the simulations of mixed mode I/III fracture of thin-walled structures (including metals, polymers and composites). Development of novel experimental/computational procedures for determining fracture properties. Multiscale modeling of interfaces. Analysis of adhesively-bonded structures. Deformation and fracture of spot welds. Identification of deformation and failure  of composite materials at various length scales. Multiscale modeling of nanocomposites and determination of the interfacial properties of nano-reinforcements/polymer interfaces. Development of adaptive mesh procedures for modeling of large deformation and fracture in ductile materials. Detailed numerical analysis of ductile fracture in aluminum alloys, application of cohesive zone models for crack propagation. Discrete Dislocation Analysis of ductile fracture at the mesoscale.
Micromechanical modeling

Multiscale modeling of materials:  Bridging between atomistic models and continuum mechanics through mesoscale modeling to allow a two-way structure - property relationship for the prediction and control of materials functionality for a more efficient non-Edisonian approach to material discovery. Development of atomistically-informed constitutive models for deformation and failure of materials to characterize the influence of defects in materials across multiple length and time scales. Multiscale approaches that aim to bridge relevant time and length scales. Development of scaling laws to understand the synergetic role of size, geometry and material properties.  Emphasis on nanostructured periodic materials, nano- and micro-patterned interfaces.

Patterned Interfaces:
  • P.D. Zavattieri, L.H. Hector Jr., A.F. Bower, “Determination of the mode-I effective fracture toughness of a sinusoidal interface between two elastic solids”, International Journal of Fracture, 145 (3), pp. 167-180, 2007. [Download PDF]
  • P.D. Zavattieri, L.H. Hector Jr., A.F. Bower, “Cohesive zone simulations of crack growth along a rough interface between two elastic plastic solids”, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 75(15), pp. 4309-4332, 2008.[Download PDF]
  • F. Cordisco, P.D. Zavattieri, L.H. Hector Jr., A.F. Bower, “Toughness of a patterned interface between two elastically dissimilar solids”, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 96, pp. 192-208, 2012. [Download PDF]
  • F. Cordisco, P. Zavattieri, L.G. Hector, A. Bower ,“On the mechanics of sinusoidal interfaces between dissimilar elastic-plastic solids subject to dominant mode I", Engineering Fracture Mechanics , (DOI:10.1016/j.engfracmech.2014.06.004)[Download PDF]
  • F.A. Cordisco, P.D. Zavattieri, L.G. Hector Jr., B.E. Carlson, "Mode I Fracture Along Bonded Sinusoidal Interfaces", International Journal of Solids and Structures,  83, pp. 45–64 2016. [Download PDF]
Crack Propagation in thin-walled structures:
  • P. Zavattieri, “Modeling of crack propagation in thin-walled structures with a cohesive model for shell elements”, special issue on Computational Mechanics of Journal of Applied Mechanics,73(6), pp. 948-958,2006. (Top 10 Most Downloaded Articles -- October 2006) [Download PDF]
  • M.A. Sutton, J.Yan, X. Deng. C.-S Cheng, P. Zavattieri, “Three-dimensional digital image correlation to quantify deformation and crack-opening displacement  in ductile aluminum under mixed-mode I/III loading”, Journal of Optical  Engineering, 46(5), 051003, 2007. [Download PDF]
  • J.-H Yan, M. A. Sutton , X. Deng, Z. Wei and P.  Zavattieri, “Mixed-mode Crack Growth in Ductile Thin-sheet Materials  under Combined In-plane and Out-of-plane Loading”  International Journal of Fracture, 160(2), pp. 169-188 2009.[Download PDF]
  • J. Yan, M. Sutton, Z. Wei, X. Deng, P. Zavattieri, “Hybrid Experimental and Computational Studies: Combined Compression-Bending Fracture of Edge-Cracked Polypropylene Specimens”,  Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, 33(12), pp. 791–808, 2010.[Download PDF]
  • Z. Wei, X. Deng, M.A. Sutton, J. Yan, C.-S. Cheng, P. Zavattieri, "Modeling of Mixed-Mode Crack Growth in Ductile Thin Sheets under Combined In-Plane and Out-of-Plane Loading", Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 78(17), pp. 3082-3101,  2011. [Download PDF]
  • X. Chen, X. Deng, M. A. Sutton, P. Zavattieri,“An Inverse Analysis of Cohesive Zone Model Parameter Values for Ductile Crack Growth Simulations", International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, 79, pp. 206-215, 2014.  [Download PDF]

Adhesive Joints:
  • S. Li, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri, “Mixed-mode cohesive-zone models for fracture of an adhesively-bonded polymer-matrix composite”, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 73(1), pp. 64-78, 2006. (Most cited article in the 2005-2009 period Award) [Download PDF]
  • S. Li, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri, “Competing failure mechanisms in mixed-mode fracture of an adhesively-bonded polymer-matrix composite”, International Journal of Adhesion and  Adhesives, 26(8), pp. 609-616, 2006. [Download PDF]
  • S. Li, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri, “Use of Mode-I cohesive-zone models to describe the fracture of an adhesively-bonded polymer-matrix composite”, Composites Science and Technology, 65(2), pp. 281-293,  2005.[Download PDF]
  •  Li, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri, “Use of a cohesive-zone model to analyze the fracture of a fiber-reinforced polymer–matrix composite”, Composites Science and Technology, 65(3-4), pp. 537-549, 2005. [Download PDF]
  •  Sun, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J.A. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri “Ductile-brittle transition in the fracture of plastically-deforming adhesively-bonded structures. Part I:  Experimental studies”, International Journal of Solids and Structures, 45 (10), pp. 3059-3073, 2008. [Download PDF]
  • C. Sun, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J.A. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri “Ductile-brittle transition in the fracture of plastically-deforming adhesively-bonded structures. Part II:  Numerical studiesInternational Journal of Solids and Structures, 45 (17), pp. 4725-4738, 2008. [Download PDF]
  • C. Sun, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J.A. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri, “Rate Effects for Mode-II Fracture of Plastically Deforming, Adhesively-Bonded Structures", International Journal of Fracture, 156(2), pp. 111-128, 2009. [Download PDF]
  •  C. Sun, M.D. Thouless, A.M. Waas, J.A. Schroeder, P.D. Zavattieri, “Rate Effects for Mixed-Mode Fracture of Plastically Deforming, Adhesively-Bonded Structures," International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 29, (4), pp.  434-443, 2009.[Download PDF]

[Complete list of publications]


  • NSF
  • Joint Transportation Research Program (INDOT)
  • Forest Product Laboratory (USFS)
  • General Motors Reserach and Development
  • Velcro
  • Purdue Research Foundation
  • Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN)

Contact Information:  Pablo D.  Zavattieri
Associate Professor
School of Civil Engineering
College of Engineering
Purdue University
550 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051
Office: CIVL G217

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