Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 01/29/2008
Tuesday, 01/29/2008
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Jacob Israelachvili
University of California, Santa Barbara
Department of Chemical Engineering

"The Transition from Liquid to Solid 'Failure' Mechanisms"

[This is a CCNY/Columbia NSF-IGERT Soft Materials seminar]


When a liquid column snaps or two droplets separate, they do this in a way that is fairly well understood in terms of their surface tension and viscosity. When brittle solids fail, by a rapid cracking and fracturing, the mechanisms are quite different and appear to depend on different ‘material’ properties. We have studied how time, rate, temperature and viscosity affect the ‘transition’ from liquid-like to solid-like failure. I will describe and visually demonstrate our results, which suggest that the transition may be a continuous one, i.e., one can go continuously from one to the other by simply changing the experimental conditions; but the transient deformations of the materials during the changing failure processes are very complex.


  • 1971 - PhD degree: under Prof. David Tabor at the Surface Physics Department, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. Thesis title: "Surface Forces"
  • 1971 - 1972 Post doctoral research, Dept. of Surface Physics, Cavendish Laboratory.
  • 1972 - 1974 Research Fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) at the Biophysics Institute, University of Stockholm, and the Karolinska Institute.
  • 1974 - 1986 Research Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow, Professorial Fellow - jointly in the Department of Applied Mathematics (Head of Department: 1984-1985) and the Department of Neurobiology, Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia.
  • 1986 - present Professor - joint appointments in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials Dept, Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), and the Biomolecular Science and Engineering (BMSE) Program. University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).
  • 1993 - 2003 Associate Director - Materials Research Laboratory, UCSB.


Israelachvili's research interests are in the general area of intermolecular and intersurface forces in biological, complex fluid and materials systems.