MAE Seminar (Zoom): Mathematical Design of Energy-related Materials

Zoom link below
Ananya Renuka Balakrishna, Ph.D.

WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor
Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
University of Southern California

Zoom Link: 

Abstract: We live in a world where we find ourselves in constant need of better materials. For example, we notice our phones drain out of battery quickly and need to be replaced every few years. Likewise, magnetic materials find applications in induction motors and wind turbines, and we are constantly pushing the boundary to improve their reversible cycling and minimize their energy losses. Today, we have a need to not only discover materials with enhanced properties but to do them urgently -- there is a need to establish a quantitative design framework to accelerate materials development. Finding these design principles is the focus of my research group. In this talk, I'll share our recent findings on magnetic materials and battery materials: First, I will show our theoretical approach to search for magnetic alloys with low hysteresis. We have identified a mathematical relation between material constants and instabilities that govern magnetic hysteresis. Our results demonstrate agreement with the permalloy experiments and provide theoretical guidance to develop novel magnetic alloys. Second, I will share some of our ongoing work to enhance the lifespans of lithium battery materials. We show that substrate straining can regulate phase transformations in thin-film electrodes and enhance their lifespans. Overall, our research aims to establish a theoretical and computational framework to accelerate the discovery and development of energy-related materials.

Bio: Ananya Renuka Balakrishna joined the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at USC as an assistant professor in Fall 2020. Prior to joining USC, she pursued postdoctoral research as a Lindemann Fellow at MIT (Department of Materials Science), and at the University of Minnesota (aerospace engineering and mechanics). Balakrishna received her doctorate in solid mechanics and materials engineering from the University of Oxford. Broadly, her research focuses on developing mathematical models to investigate the links between material instabilities, microstructures and properties in energy storage and functional materials.