Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

Kaven Hall, 104
Phone: +1-508-831-6567
Fax: +1-508-831-5808

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Nima Rahbar

My research and teaching activities in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are in the area of the mechanics of materials and structures. At WPI, my favorite aspect of teaching is working one on one with graduate and undergraduate students on research projects. I like to excite students’ curiosity towards discoveries and creative scientific advancements.

In our research group, we focus on the fundamental principles that control the behavior of materials in engineering and biology at multiple scales. I am particularly interested in the bioinspired design of materials and structures. In this field, studying biological materials leads to design of high performance materials and structures. For example, we have created bioinspired dental ceramic crowns that lasts longer than the current dental crowns; we have also studied the fracture properties of bamboo as a sustainable structural material. We also have a few projects focusing on fracture and fatigue of materials and structures such as viscoelastic crack bridging mechanisms in ceramics; We have also been involved with the repair of the Adam statue at the New York Metropolitan Museum by studying the mixed mode fracture of marble/adhesive interfaces. I encourage you to visit my website for more details about my research group at WPI.

Research Interests

  • Atomistic Simulations
  • Bioinspired Design of Materials
  • Contact Mechanics and Adhesion
  • Natural Fiber Reinforced Composites
  • Toughening Mechanisms


  • BS, Sharif University of Technology, 1998
  • MS, Northeastern University, 2003
  • PhD, Princeton University, 2008

Featured Publications

  • Salahshoor Hossein, Rahbar Nima ”Nano-scale toughness and behavior of graphene/epoxy interfaces.” Journal of Applied Physics, 112, 023510 (2012); dpi: 10.1063/1.4737776.
  • Kwofie S. and Rahbar N. ”A Fatigue Driving Stress Approach to Damage and Life Prediction under Variable Amplitude Loading.” International Journal of Damage Mechanics, 10.1177/1056789512449638, (in press). 
  • T. Tan, N. Rahbar, S.M. Allameh, S. Kwofie, D. Dissmore, K. Ghavami, W.O. Soboyejo ”Mechanical properties of functionally graded hierarchical bamboo structures” Acta Biomaterialia, 7 (2011) 3796-3803, doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2011.06.008
  • Rahbar N., et. al. ”Thermal Shock Resistance of an Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramics.” Experimental Mechanics, Volume 51, Issue 2 (2011), Page 133, doi: 10.1007/s11340-010-9345-3.
  • Rahbar N., et. al. (2008) ”Adhesion and Interfacial Fracture Toughness between Hard and Soft Materials.” Journal of Applied Physics, 104, 103533, doi: 10.1063/1.3021350

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Professional Highlights

  • 2012 TMS Structural Materials Division Young Leader Award
  • 2011 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award
  • Princeton University Graduate School Fellowship
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