Natural Materials - A Tale of Two Explorations (13/04/22)

Speaker and Affliation:

Prof. V.A. Ravi
Professor, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering,
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona)


Dr. Vilupanur A. Ravi is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona), USA. He is currently the K. P. Abraham Visiting Chair Professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science. He is an alumnus of the Institute, having obtained his B.E. in Metallurgy with distinction, followed by his MS and PhD from the Ohio State University. His IISc project, under the supervision of Profs. S. Ranganathan and K. Chattopadhyay, was awarded the Frank Adcock medal for the outstanding B.E. project, and led to a paper in Acta Metallurgica. Prof. Ravi’s research interests are in the areas of corrosion, high temperature materials/coatings and materials processing. His work has been recognized through several awards and honors both nationally and internationally including the NACE Technical Achievement Award, and Fellowships in seven different professional organizations including the National Academy of Inventors, ASM International, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, etc.


13th April, 2022 (Wednusday), 04:00 PM (India Standard Time)


Department of Materials Engineering, KPA auditorium


Natural materials have inspired many innovations in engineering and science. In this talk, I will discuss two different examples. One of them will be about spider silk, a natural material that has unique mechanical properties, e.g., high strength-to-weight ratios. An introduction to the topic will be followed by a discussion of silk extraction, its properties and potential applications. In the second example, the materials science foundational to the construction of the plank canoe of the Chumash, a Native American people, will be discussed. This canoe, called the tomol, including the use of a material called yop. The yop, made from natural materials, functioned not only as a sealant and a caulking compound but also as an adhesive/binder. I will discuss the Chumash culture, the tomol, yop, and where it was utilized, and describe our efforts to process and characterize this material.