Pablo Zavattieri Research Group
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Our research interest is in the broad area of solid mechanics applied to the multiscale modeling of advanced and innovative engineering materials. The main objectives of our research are to address some of the fundamental issues of solid mechanics and to advance our multiscale understanding of material behavior by developing and employing accurate physics-based scale bridging models together with  state-of-the-art computational tools and high performance computing. This approach is combined with experiments. In particular, our work has strong emphasis in the bridging between scales from atomistics to continuum-based models. 

[Complete List of Publications] [Word Cloud]

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.
Biological and biomimetic materials
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:   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]
Web Site:

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).


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

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

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.


smart materials
[1] D. Restrepo, N.D. Mankame, P.D. Zavattieri, "Phase Transforming Cellular Materials", Extreme Mechanics Letters, 2015 [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.
Multiscale modeling

Digital Image Correlation (DIC): Development of experimental/computational tools for the analysis mixed mode I/III fracture of sheetmetals (Aluminum, steels) and polymers.  DIC applied to the analysis of Portevin-Le Chậterlier Bands advanced high strength steels (e.g., Twinning Induced Plasticity (TWIP) Steel). DIC applied to the martensitic detwinning in NiTi Shape Memory alloys.


NanoHUB tools:

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

2.    Mateo Gómez Zuluaga; Robert J. Moon; Fernando Luis Dri; Pablo Daniel Zavattieri (2013), "Crystalline Cellulose - Atomistic Toolkit," DOI: 10.4231/D35T3G03B

3.    Mateo Gómez Zuluaga; Fernando Luis Dri; Pablo Daniel Zavattieri; Robert J. Moon (2013), "Anisotropy Calculator - 3D Visualization Toolkit," DOI: 10.4231/D3K06X13R

[Complete list of publications]


  • NSF-CMMI 1131596
  • 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

Purdue University  
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