Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Web-based simulation of granular materials and nanoparticle self-assembly"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2014 - DURI
Research area(s):
nanotechnology, composite materials
Project Description:
Understanding the physics of manufacturing heterogenous materials via the popular processes of granular jamming, colloidal gelation and nanoparticle self (or directed) assembly is crucial to designing tailored materials for functional applications such as energy devices (thermoelectrics, photovoltaics), bio-sensing and electrocatalysis. At sub-micron length scales, the interparticle interactions are complex and dominated by conservative (van der Waals and electrostatic) and entropic (polymer-mediated or depletion dictated by particle shape) forces. This project seeks the development of a consolidated, web-based suite of computational tools (to be hosted on nanoHUB) to simulate the aforementioned processes. We employ optimization routines to explore the free energy hyperspace and predict stable microstructures along with detailed geometric (incl. visual) and mechanical characterization. The availability of such tools (for rapid prototyping these materials) through an open-source hosting will be of great benefit to the researchers (experimental and computational) working in this field.
Expected Student Contributions:
This project is primarily computational and will involve: a) object-oriented development (and extension) of existing prototype code for simulations, b) hosting the code on nanoHUB for a web-based interface, and c) exploring possible avenues for parallelization.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Strong programming skills. Knowledge of MATLAB, C/C++ is required. Prior experience with object-oriented programming is highly desired. Willingness to learn the principles of soft condensed matter physics.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?

Professor in Charge

Fisher, Timothy
mechanical engineering

Student Supervisor

Ishan Srivastava
Graduate Research Assistant

Cooperating Faculty

Alejandro Strachan