Our research group is located in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. We foster an interdisciplinary research environment where scientists and engineers explore fundamental and applied aspects of soft materials. The Soft Materials and Structures Lab is located in Goodwin Hall and the Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Research Focus

Our research lies at the intersection of soft materials, mechanics, and functionality.   Through precise experiments and analyses, we study and exploit the fascinating interplay between material composition, geometry, and programmed deformations.  This interdisciplinary and biomimetic approach aims to create advanced, multifunctional materials with novel combinations of mechanical and functional properties, including ‘smart’ adhesives, stretchable electronics and soft robotics, and adaptive materials.

Recent News

4/2021 – Prof. Bartlett presents at MRS and chairs a session on novel soft composites.
4/2021 – Prof. Bartlett gives an invited seminar at Texas Tech in Mechanical Engineering.
4/2021 – Prof. Bartlett gives an invited presentation at the 2021 ACS Spring Meeting in the Fundamentals of Polymer Mechanics session.
3/2021 – Prof. Bartlett receives the ICTAS Junior Faculty Award. VT news story.
3/2021 – Dohgyu receives the 2021 Adhesion Society Distinguished Paper Award for his work on Programmable Adhesion.
2/2021 – Prof. Bartlett gave a keynote presentation at the 2021 Adhesion Society meeting and co-organized/chaired a session on the 50th anniversary of the JKR theory. Dohgyu, Ted, Haque, and Ravi all present. 
2/2021 –  Prof. Bartlett’s News & Views article Liquid assets for soft electronics published in Nature Materials
1/2021 –  Paper on Deterministic control of adhesive crack propagation through jamming based switchable adhesives  is published in Soft Matter as an invited submission to the 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators Collection and is featured as a cover article.
12/2020 – Dohgyu receives the Peebles Award from the Adhesion Society.
11/2020 – Prof. Bartlett was a guest on the Soft Robotics Podcast. You can listen to the conversation on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Podcast, and other podcast providers.
11/2020 –  Paper on Mechanically Cloaked Multiphase Magnetic Elastomer Soft Composites for Wearable Wireless Power Transfer with Nathan Lazarus (ARL) is published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
10/2020 Paper on All-graphene-based open fluidics for pumpless, small-scale fluid transport via laser-controlled wettability patterning with Carmen Gomes (ISU) and Jonathan Claussen’s (ISU) groups published in Nanoscale Horizons. Featured as a cover article.
10/2020 Paper on macrophage adhesion to hydrophobically modified hydrogels with Katie Bratlie (ISU) and Shan Jiang’s (ISU) groups published in BioChemical Engineering Journal.
9/2020 Paper on Conductive liquid metal elastomer thin films with multifunctional electro-mechanical properties with Ravi Shankar (UPitt) and Qibing Pei’s (UCLA) groups published in Multifunctional Materials.
9/2020 Paper on Active Membranes on Rigidity Tunable Foundations for Programmable, Rapidly Switchable Adhesion with Dave Dillard (VT) and Kevin Turner (UPenn) groups published in Advanced Materials Technologies.
9/2020 – Paper on Modeling of Magnetorheological Elastomers with David Jiles (ISU) groups published in IEEE Transactions on Magnetics.
9/2020 – Review paper on Solid-Liquid Composites with Rob Style et al. published in Advanced Functional Materials.
8/2020 – The Soft Materials and Structures lab moves to Virginia Tech!
7/2020 – Lin successfully defends her PhD!
7/2020 – Ravi successfully defends his PhD!
7/2020 – Dohgyu successfully defends his Masters!
6/2020 – Prof. Bartlett and Rob Style write an editorial titled Introduction to Liquid Composites as guest editors for the special Soft Matter issue on ‘Liquid Composites.’ See the collection here.
6/2020 – Haque receives a Postdoctoral Seed Grant from the Graduate College at Iowa State.
6/2020 – Prof. Bartlett’s World Science Festival presentation has been posted on YouTube. This is from the Cool Jobs program in New York City in 2019.
5/2020 – Prof. Bartlett receives a DARPA Director’s Fellowship Award.
4/2020 Paper on programmable liquid metal microstructures for multifunctional soft thermal composites published in Advanced Functional Materials and featured as a cover article. See the story by ISU.
3/2020 – Dohgyu receives the Research Excellence Award from the Graduate College. Read more here.
3/2020 – Haque, Ravi, Dohgyu, and Ted present at the Midwest Graduate Student Society of Experimental Mechanics (SEM) Symposium.
2/2020 – Prof. Bartlett receives the Early Career Scientist Award from the Adhesion Society.
2/2020 – Ravi receives the Alan Gent Distinguished Student Award from the Adhesion Society. Read more here.
2/2020 – Dohgyu, Ravi, and Prof. Bartlett attend and present at the Adhesion Society in Charleston, SC. Prof. Bartlett co-organized and co-chaired a session on Soft Materials for Soft Technology.
1/2020 – Dohgyu receives the Brown Graduate Fellowship.
1/2020 – Sarah is awarded the Dean’s High Impact Award for Undergraduate Research to support her research in the lab.
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Recent Publications

We are grateful for support from the following organizations: