Kaven Hall 106
+1 (508) 8315000 x6567
Affiliated Department or Office
Mechanical Engineering
BS Sharif University of Technology 1998
PhD Princeton University 2008

My research activities in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are in mechanics, materials, and structures. At WPI, my favorite teaching aspect is working one-on-one with graduate and undergraduate students on research projects. I like to excite students’ curiosity toward 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 the design of high-performance materials and structures. For example, we have created a new paradigm in self-healing concrete using an enzymatic mechanism. Using the same mechanism, we have now produced a Carbon-Negative Enzymatic Construction Material (ECM), which sequesters 18 lbs of CO2 per cubic yard in comparison to concrete which emits around 700 lbs of CO2 per cubic yard. ECM also holds the record in compressive strength as a carbon-negative alternative structural material at around 15 MPa.  I encourage you to see the details of our research activities on my group's website. 


Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Preview Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure Goal

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Preview Sustainable Cities and Communities Goal

Scholarly Work

Mechanical properties of functionally graded hierarchical bamboo structures T Tan, N Rahbar, SM Allameh, S Kwofie, D Dissmore, K Ghavami, ... Acta biomaterialia 7 (10), 3796-3803

Strong fiber-reinforced hydrogel A Agrawal, N Rahbar, PD Calvert Acta biomaterialia 9 (2), 5313-5318

Bio-inspired design of dental multilayers: experiments and model X Niu, N Rahbar, S Farias, W Soboyejo Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials 2 (6), 596-602

Parametric study of one-dimensional solute transport in deformable porous media AN Alshawabkeh, N Rahbar Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 132 (8), 1001-1010

Volume change effects on solute transport in clay under consolidation AN Alshawabkeh, N Rahbar, TC Sheahan, G Tang Geo Jordan 2004: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering with Emphasis on Dams ...

Adhesion and interfacial fracture toughness between hard and soft materials N Rahbar, K Wolf, A Orana, R Fennimore, Z Zong, J Meng, G Papandreou, ... Journal of Applied Physics 104 (10), 103533

Professional Highlights & Honors
Life Science Moment Award, 2009
University of Massachusetts
NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER), 2012

TMS Structural Materials Division Young Leader Professional Development Award, 2012

Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship, 2013
Wright-Patterson Air Force Laboratory
Princeton Graduate Fellowship, 2003
Princeton University
2018 Sigma Xi Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award,


Science Daily
Developing a sustainable concrete substitute

Science Daily covered the continued collaboration between Professor Suzanne Scarlata and Associate Professor Nima Rahbar to develop their Enzymatic Construction Material – a sustainable, low-cost replacement for concrete that can also heal itself. Scarlata and Rahbar recently received a nearly $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to refine the material, explore its ability to repair cracks in glass, and create educational programs for girls in Worcester and Nigeria.

BBC Earth
Is it possible to heat our homes without heating our planet?

BBC Earth featured the self-healing concrete developed by Associate Professor Nima Rahbar and Professor Suzanne Scarlata in an episode about climate-friendly ways to heat residential homes. The self-healing concrete uses an enzyme found in red blood cells to heal itself, thereby filling cracks before they cause larger structural issues.