Faculty Directory
Sinan Keten

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering

June and Donald Brewer Professor

Director of Graduate Studies (Mechanical Engineering)


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech A133
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-491-5282Email Sinan Keten


Keten Research Group Website


Mechanical Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering


Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Graduate Program

PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences

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PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

MEng, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

BS, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey

Research Interests

My research expertise is on computational materials science and mechanics, emphasizing two areas: (1) nanostructured polymeric materials and (2) biomolecular and bioinspired materials. My career goal is to establish theory and simulation-driven approaches to understanding the physics of soft materials at multiple-length scales, typically utilizing molecular dynamics and theoretical approaches. I envision that creating faster and more accurate computational methods, and also learning from biological design principles, will accelerate the design of new materials for structural use, separations, and broader applications relevant to energy, environment, and infrastructure. Designing biomolecular and polymeric materials by theory-driven approaches remains at its infancy because of the dynamic nature of these systems at the nanoscale, and because of the intricacy of the nanoscale interfaces in these systems. 

Significant Recognition

  • ASME Sia Nemat-Nasser Early Career Award (2019)
  • ASCE Huber Research Prize (2019)
  • JMBBM Early Career Researcher Award (2018)
  • Society of Engineering Science Young Investigator Award (2018)
  • NAE US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Participant (2017)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2017)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (Division of Polymer Physics) (2016)
  • Office of Naval Research Director of Research Early Career Award (ONR) (2016)
  • Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (ONR YIP) (2015)
  • SEARLE Fellow for Teaching Excellence (2014)
  • ASME Applied Mechanics Division Haythornthwaite RIG Award (2012)
  • Materials Research Society Graduate Student Award (2009)
  • MIT Philip Loew Memorial Award (2008)
  • MIT Emerson Music Scholarship (2007-2009)
  • MIT Presidential Graduate Fellowship (2006)

Significant Professional Service

  • Associate Editor for npj Computational Materials
  • Member of the editorial board for BioNanoScience, Scientific Reports and ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering

Selected Publications

  • Nitin K. Hansoge, Tianyu Huang, Robert Sinko, Wenjie Xia, Wei Chen, Sinan Keten, “Materials by Design for Stiff and Tough Hairy Nanoparticle Assemblies”, ACS Nano, (2018)
  • Bharath Natarajan, Ajay Krishnamurthy, Xin Qin, Caglar D. Emiroglu, Amanda Forster, E. Johan Foster, Christoph Weder, Douglas M. Fox, Sinan Keten, Jan Obrzut, Jeffrey W. Gilman, “Binary Cellulose Nanocrystal Blends for Bioinspired Damage Tolerant Photonic Films”, Advanced Functional Materials, (2018)
  • Kerim C. Dansuk, Sinan Keten, “Tunable seat belt behavior in nanocomposite interfaces inspired from bacterial adhesion pili”, Soft Matter, (2018)
  • Wenjie Xia, Jake Song, Cheol Jeong, David D. Hsu, Frederick R. Phelan, Jack F. Douglas, Sinan Keten, “Energy-Renormalization for Achieving Temperature Transferable Coarse-Graining of Polymer Dynamics”, Macromolecules, (2017)
  • Zhaoxu Meng, Rafael A. Soler-Crespo, Wenjie Xia, Wei Gao, Luis Ruiz, Horacio D. Espinosa, Sinan Keten, “A coarse-grained model for the mechanical behavior of graphene oxide”, Carbon, (2017)
  • Wenjie Xia, Zhaoxu Meng, Chen Shao, Sinan Keten, “Designing multi-layer graphene-based assemblies for enhanced toughness in nacre-inspired nanocomposites”, Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, (2016)
  • David D. Hsu, Wenjie Xia, Jake Song, Sinan Keten, “Glass-Transition and Side-Chain Dynamics in Thin Films”, ACS Macro Letters, (2016)
  • Elizabeth P. Debenedictis, Elham Hamed, Sinan Keten, “Mechanical Reinforcement of Proteins with Polymer Conjugation”, ACS Nano, (2016)
  • Xiaoding Wei, Zhaoxu Meng, Luis Ruiz, Wenjie Xia, Changgu Lee, Jeffrey W. Kysar, James C. Hone, Sinan Keten, Horacio D. Espinosa, “Recoverable Slippage Mechanism in Multilayer Graphene Leads to Repeatable Energy Dissipation”, ACS Nano, (2016)
  • Meng Shen, Sinan Keten, Richard M. Lueptow, “Rejection mechanisms for contaminants in polyamide reverse osmosis membranes”, Jornal of Membrane Science, (2016)
  • Wenjie Xia, Jake Song, David D. Hsu, Sinan Keten, “Understanding the Interfacial Mechanical Response of Nanoscale Polymer Thin Films via Nanoindentation”, Macromolecules, (2016)
  • Wenjie Xia, Luis Ruiz, Nicola M. Pugno, Sinan Keten, “Critical length scales and strain localization govern the mechanical performance of multi-layer graphene assemblies”, Nanoscale, (2016)
  • Robert Sinko, Matthieu Vandamme, Zden?k P. Ba?ant, Sinan Keten, “Transient effects of drying creep in nanoporous solids”, Proceedings of The Royal Society of London, Series A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, (2016)
  • Xin Qin, Wenjie Xia, Robert Sinko, Sinan Keten, “Tuning Glass Transition in Polymer Nanocomposites with Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals through Nanoconfinement”, Nano Letters, (2015)
  • Chen Shao, Sinan Keten, “Stiffness Enhancement in Nacre-Inspired Nanocomposites due to Nanoconfinement”, Scientific Reports, (2015)
  • Keten, Sinan; Ruiz, Luis; Xia, Wenjie; Meng, Zhaoxu, “A coarse-grained model for the mechanical behavior of multi-layer graphene”, Carbon, (2015)
  • Keten, Sinan; Ruiz, Luis; Benjamin, Ari; Sullivan, Matthew, “Regulating ion transport in peptide nanotubes by tailoring the nanotube lumen chemistry”, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, (2015)
  • Keten, Sinan; Arturo, Steven G.; Xia, Wenjie; Hsu, David D., “Thermomechanically consistent and temperature transferable coarse-graining of atactic polystyrene”, Macromolecules, (2015)
  • Keten, Sinan; Sinko, Robert; Egan, Paul; Leduc, Philip R., “The role of mechanics in biological and bio-inspired systems”, Nature Communications, (2015)
  • Ruiz, Luis; Keten, Sinan; Sinko, Robert; Mishra, Shawn; Brandis, Nick, “Dimensions of biological cellulose nanocrystals maximize fracture strength”, ACS Macro Letters, (2014)
  • Keten, Sinan; Hsu, David D.; Xia, Wenjie; Arturo, Steven G., “Systematic method for thermomechanically consistent coarse-graining: A universal model for methacrylate-based polymers”, Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, (2014)
  • Ruiz, L.; Keten, S., “Thermodynamics versus kinetics dichotomy in the linear self-assembly of mixed nanoblocks”, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, (2014)
  • Ruiz, Luis; Keten, Sinan, “Directing the self-assembly of supra-biomolecular nanotubes using entropic forces”, Soft Matter, (2014)
  • Keten, Sinan; Hamed, Elham; Xu, Ting, “Poly(ethylene glycol) conjugation stabilizes the secondary structure of -helices by reducing peptide solvent accessible surface area”, Biomacromolecules, (2013)
  • S Keten;MJ Buehler, “Atomistic model of the spider silk nanostructure”, Applied Physics Letters, (2010)
  • R Paparcone, S Keten, MJ Buehler, “Atomistic simulation of nanomechanical properties of Alzheimer's A beta(1-40) amyloid fibrils under compressive and tensile loading”, Journal of biomechanics, (2010)
  • A Nova;S Keten;NM Pugno;A Redaelli;MJ Buehler, “Molecular and Nanostructural Mechanisms of Deformation, Strength and Toughness of Spider Silk Fibrils”, Nano Letters, (2010)
  • S Keten;ZP Xu;B Ihle;MJ Buehler, “Nanoconfinement controls stiffness, strength and mechanical toughness of beta-sheet crystals in silk”, Nature Materials, (2010)
  • MJ Buehler;S Keten, “Colloquium: Failure of molecules, bones, and the Earth itself”, Reviews of Modern Physics, (2010)
  • S Keten;JFR Alvarado;S Muftu;MJ Buehler, “Nanomechanical Characterization of the Triple beta-Helix Domain in the Cell Puncture Needle of Bacteriophage T4 Virus”, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, (2009)
  • T Ackbarow;S Keten;MJ Buehler, “A multi-timescale strength model of alpha-helical protein domains”, Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter, (2009)
  • M Srinivasan;SGM Uzel;A Gautieri;S Keten;MJ Buehler, “Alport Syndrome mutations in type IV tropocollagen alter molecular structure and nanomechanical properties”, Journal of Structural Biology, (2009)
  • S Keten;MJ Buehler, “Large deformation and fracture mechanics of a beta-helical protein nanotube: Atomistic and continuum modeling”, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, (2008)
  • S Keten;MJ Buehler, “Geometric confinement governs the rupture strength of H-bond assemblies at a critical length scale”, Nano Letters, (2008)
  • MJ Buehler;S Keten, “Elasticity, Strength and Resilience: A Comparative Study on Mechanical Signatures of alpha-Helix, beta-Sheet and Tropocollagen Domains”, Nano Research, (2008)
  • S Keten;MJ Buehler, “Strength limit of entropic elasticity in beta-sheet protein domains”, Physical Review E, (2008)
  • S Keten;MJ Buehler, “Asymptotic strength limit of hydrogen-bond assemblies in proteins at vanishing pulling rates”, Physical Review Letters, (2008)
  • MJ Buehler;S Keten;T Ackbarow, “Theoretical and computational hierarchical nanomechanics of protein materials: Deformation and fracture”, Progress in Materials Science, (2008)

In the Classroom

Sinan Keten's teaching interests include mechanics of materials, statics and dynamics classes at the undergraduate level, as well as atomistic modeling and simulation of materials. He is also interested in the development of online simulation tools that provide for a hands-on, practical learning environment for students.