Welcome to the Sanoja Research Group!

Sanoja Research Group. Spring 2024. Pictured from left to right: Adam N. Mann, Anthony J. Arrowood, Gabriel E. Sanoja, Aaliyah Z. Dookhith, Tiffany Jeng, and Devin Rosmarin

The Sanoja Research Group is located in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. It focuses on engineering the mechanical properties of soft polymeric materials.

Soft materials are irreplaceable in applications requiring large reversible deformations, such as elastomers in rubber tires, dampers and seals, hydrogels in contact lenses and superabsorbent diapers, and pressure-sensitive-adhesives in band-aids, double-sided tapes, and wearable electronics. These materials have elastic moduli ranging from 1 kPa to 1 MPa, can sustain large deformations near pre-existing defects or cracks, and dissipate energy over regions considerably larger than the atomic size. Therefore, while soft materials pervade our daily lives, their fracture behavior is significantly less understood than that of metals, ceramics, and glasses, and they are brittle in applications requiring high temperatures and water concentrations. For example, in membranes for water purification, hydrogels for artificial prosthetics, electrolytes for energy conversion and storage devices, and adhesives for advanced manufacturing. In these conditions, the materials exhibit optimal functional properties due to their liquid-like local dynamics but readily localize stress, nucleate cracks, and fracture.

The Sanoja Research Group leverages recent advances in polymer science to unravel the structure-mechanics relationships of soft materials and develop design rules for optimizing their functional and mechanical properties. It aims to bridge the realms of polymer chemistry, polymer physics, and fracture mechanics to engineer advanced materials for a more energy efficient, healthy, and sustainable society.

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