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 the 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 visco-elastic 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.
Our latest work is focused on introducing a new paradigm in self-healing concrete using enzymes.
Professional Highlights & Honors
The Worcester Business Journal is the latest to report on research by Kristen Billiar, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, who hopes to close an important gap in the understanding of physical factors that help regulate the life and death of cells in our bodies, and the important roles they play in the development of a wide range of disorders. Co-principle investigators include Nima Rahbar, associate professor of civil & environmental engineering, and Qi Wen, associate professor of physics.