Born in Brasilia, Brazil, André R. Studart received his Bachelor degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil. He carried out his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Victor C. Pandolfelli in the same university, investigating novel methods for processing of refractory castables and near-net-shape advanced ceramics. From 2002 until mid 2007 he worked and gave lectures at ETH Zurich as a member of Prof. Ludwig J. Gauckler’s group. During this first period in Zurich, he studied the mechanical properties of dental materials and ceramics processed through colloidal routes. In 2007/2008 he was researcher at Harvard University in the group of Prof. David A. Weitz in the area of inorganic materials obtained using microfluidic techniques. Since February 2009 he heads the Complex Materials group in the Department of Materials at ETH Zurich. He was awarded by Alcoa Co., Thermo Haake Co., Brookfield Co, Magnesita and the Brazilian Ceramic Society. He is co-author of an undergraduate textbook on ceramic processing, holds three patents and has published about 50 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals.
His main research interests are on bio-inspired complex materials with potential applications as medical implants, energy conversion systems and smart structures.


Biologically inspired composites and ceramics

André Rocha Studart

Department of Materials, ETH – Zurich, Suíça

The intricate hierarchical organization of biological materials like bone, teeth, plants and seashells finds no counterparts within man-made composites. Implementation of such nano-/microstructural design in synthetic composites should enable the creation of materials with unusual combination of properties and functionalities. Despite ongoing efforts to understand the complex cell-mediated processes that lead to such hierarchical architectures, mimicking synthetically the structural organization of natural materials remains a major challenge. An alternative approach is to devise new directed assembly routes to organize colloidal building blocks into bioinspired structures in the absence of cellular control. In this talk, I will present some of our recent attempts to develop such directed assembly routes and how we can utilize them to translating biological design principles into new composites and ceramics. I will show a new approach to obtain polymer-based composites exhibiting deliberate orientation of reinforcing ceramic particles using ultra-low magnetic fields. The ability to control the position and orientation of reinforcing particles within a polymer matrix leads to bioinspired heterogeneous structures with unusual out-of-plane stiffness, wear resistance and shape-memory effects. Extending these design concepts to purely inorganic systems enables the creation of ceramics with remarkable toughness or with unprecedented self-shaping effects. The unusual properties achieved in these examples illustrate the great potential of this bioinspired approach in creating synthetic composites and ceramics with rich functional behavior using a limited set of building blocks.


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