Emanuela Del Gado

Emanuela Del Gado

Georgetown Univeristy

Fellow, Elected 2023

Emanuela Del Gado has contributed to rheology through the development of theory and computational methods that she used to discover the mechanisms of stress transmission in colloidal gels. She furthermore applied these methods to elucidate the properties of cement and the nature of yield and flow in soft, jammed materials. She has served the rheology community through her organization of meetings, workshops, and special issues.

The hallmark of Del Gado’s work is the spatiotemporal characterization of microscopic dynamical processes and the unraveling of microstructural underpinnings in the rheology of soft materials. She has developed a suite of models and computational tools to investigate the relationship between micro- (and nano-) structure and response to mechanical deformation, striving to connect her computational studies to theory and experiments, with collaborations across different disciplinary areas.

Del Gado’s work on colloidal gels has shown how microstructure determines stress transmission and stress localization. She has demonstrated that structural heterogeneities, such as particle clusters and regions more/less densely connected, change the linear elastic moduli typically measured in rheology and determined the cooperative microscopic dynamics underlying the microscopic relaxation spectra. She, with collaborators, characterized the evolution of local stresses in the rheological response of colloidal gels during shear startup, demonstrating that the coupling between microscopic dynamical processes and an imposed shear lead to strain localization and fracture. She furthermore developed a new theoretical framework – correlated rigidity percolation – to describe the emergence of rigidity in colloidal gels. Del Gado identified the microstructural origin of the power-law viscoelastic spectra measured in a broad range of soft particulate gels.

Del Gado has furthermore pioneered a statistical mechanics description and computational approach to quantitatively investigate cement hydration. She developed the first quantitative model to investigate nanoscale gelation and densification of cement hydrates. With collaborators, she demonstrated that the nanoscale forces and their evolution during cement hydration control the morphology of these gels and steer compressive or tensile stresses as the material progressively densifies and solidifies. Del Gado discovered that water-ion structures formed at high confinement are at the origin of nanoscale cement cohesion, solving a 100-year-old question and providing a new framework to understand and design ionspecificity of cement and clay materials.

Del Gado has served the rheology community through her leadership in organizing meetings, sessions, and workshops. She co-organized a workshop on Rheology of Gels at ENS Lyon (2017). She regularly organizes Focus sessions on Gel Rheology at the APS March Meeting. She was a session organizer for the ICR in 2020, and technical co-chair of the 2022 Annual SOR Meeting in Chicago. She has organized or co-organized workshops in of particle suspension rheology, including a 2016 Georgetown Workshop and a 2018 workshop at UCSB. She co-guest edited a special issue of the Journal of Rheology on "Physics of Dense Suspensions” in early 2020. In addition to serving on committees of the Society Rheology, she is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Rheology and of Rheologica Acta.

Based on the documents submitted by Michael J. Solomon.