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MICDE Seminar: Pania Newell, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah

September 23, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Venue: 1200 EECS

Pania Newell

Pania Newell is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and holds adjunct faculty positions at the School of Computing and Civil Engineering Department at the University of Utah. Before joining The University of Utah, she was a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. She obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico and the University of Colorado-Boulder, respectively. Her research interest lies at the interface of mechanics and material sciences. In particular, she is interested in multi-scale, multi-physics phenomena in heterogeneous porous materials through developing theoretical, computational, and experimental frameworks combined with data sciences. She is the co-founder/co-host of an academic podcast called “This Academic Life”.


Hierarchical porous materials with pores at multiple length scales are widespread in nature. Although different compositions, textures, and physical properties of natural porous materials have inspired researchers and engineers to design materials with controllable pore structures, the hierarchical structure of natural porous materials poses challenges in understanding damage and fracture in these complex systems. To be able to create nature-inspired materials, we must have a mechanistic understanding of materials ranging from the macro- to the nanoscale. In this talk, I will begin by providing an overview of porous materials and their substantial role in our energy sector. I will then discuss some of our recent efforts in designing nano/micro porous structures with different pore morphology and novel in-situ testing to highlight the effect of different structural and geometrical parameters in porous materials across scales. I will also show how computational tools enable us to enhance our fundamental understanding of fracture propagation mechanisms in such materials over a wide range of scales. At the nanoscale, molecular dynamics simulation provides information about mechanical properties, such as fracture energy release rate for various pore morphologies. At the micro-scale, the impact of the pore shape and size on fracture pattern is investigated through a two-scale homogenization method coupled with the state-of-the-art phase-field fracture technique. The results of this hierarchical coupling approach highlight the importance of higher-order parameters associated with the pore shape and size on fracture properties and patterns at the continuum scale.



The MICDE Fall 2022 Seminar Series is open to all. University of Michigan faculty and students interested in multi-scale, multi-physics phenomena in heterogeneous porous materials are encouraged to attend.

This seminar is hosted by the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery & Engineering (MICDE). Prof. Newell will be hosted by Prof. Krishna Garikipati, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics and Director of MICDE.

This is an in-person event, Zoom link will only be provided upon request.

Graduate Certificate in Computational Discovery and Engineering, and MICDE fellows, please use this form to record your attendance.

Questions? Email



September 23, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Categories:
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1200 EECS
1301 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 United States