Francois Barthelat

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Department of Biomedical Engineering


Photo of Francois Barthelat

Macdonald Engineering Building, Rm 150 [Map]
817 rue Sherbrooke Ouest Montreal Quebec Canada
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 0C3
514.398.6318 [Office]
514-398-7365 [Fax]


External website 


MECH 210 Mechanics 1
MECH 393 Machine Element Design
MECH 632 Theory of Elasticity

PhD Northwestern University
MSc University of Rochester

Curriculum vitae


BSc, École Nationale Supérieure d’électricité et de Mécanique (France)

MSc, University of Rochester, Mechanical Engineering

PhD, Northwestern University, Mechanical Engineering

Research interests

KEYWORDS: • Mechanics of Biological Materials • Biomimetics • Fracture Mechanics • Composites • Experimental Mechanics • Small-scale Mechanical Testing • Multiscale Modeling

Nature produces extremely efficient natural, which are increasingly becoming a source of inspiration for engineers. In materials science, biomimetics (the science of imitating nature) is now starting to inspire novel materials with extraordinary mechanical properties.

My research focuses on the mechanical performance of hard biological materials (seashells, teeth), and on the development of novel “bio-inspired” composites. Hard biological materials are 10 to 10,000 times tougher than the fragile ceramics of which they are made. These levels of improvement are currently not matched by man-made materials, but nature demonstrates that they are possible.

Seashells and teeth are two very good examples of hard and tough natural materials. In order to determine which key microstructural features and mechanisms control their performance, we use small scale and in-situ experiments, and multiscale modeling. The focus is currently on toughening mechanisms, which are the mechanisms operating together to slow down or even stop the propagation of cracks within the material.

Using what we are learning from nature, we are developing novel bio-inspired composite materials: large scale model materials to demonstrate key concepts, high performance composites, and ceramic coatings with enhanced adhesion.