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Florence Sanchez

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Director of Graduate Studies in Environmental Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

Chemo-mechanical behavior and long-term performance of cement-based composites; Nanoscale behavior and nanomodification of cement and concrete materials; 3D printing of infrastructure materials; Mechanical/chemical/energy responses at material interfaces; Nanoscale interfacial interactions and dynamics in heterogeneous materials; Chemomechanically adaptive materials; Coupled chemo-transport-mechanical modeling


Dr. Florence Sanchez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. Her research activities are aimed at addressing challenges related to durability, resilience, and sustainable development of infrastructure materials. Projects are directed at understanding the relationships between composition, processing, microstructure, properties and performance/durability and the role of interfaces and interfacial processes on the response and performance of materials with evolving nano/microstructure architecture in response to internal and external stimuli across length (nano to macro) and time scales. A strong emphasis is placed on understanding the mechanisms that occur at the nano- and micrometer length scale and how molecular level chemical changes at internal dynamic interfaces and modifications of the material microstructural architecture affect its long-term, macro-scale, engineering performance. This necessitates integration, at a fundamental level, of the key mechanisms and critical processes involving thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, mass transport, and mechanics across multiple length and time scales.

Dr. Sanchez’s professional service activities include Chair of the American Ceramic Society’s Cements Division (2009-2010); Organizer and Program Chair of the 2nd Advances in Cement-based Materials of the American Ceramic Society’s Cements Division meeting (2011), Organizer and Chair of the NSF funded US-Poland Workshop on Multiscale Computational Modeling of Cementitious Materials (October 2012) and NSF funded 3D Cement Printing workshop (July 2015); Associate Editor, ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering (2013-present); Appointed Member of the Transportation Research Board Task Force on Nanotechnology-Based Concrete Materials (TRB AFN15T of the National Academies); and Member of the American Concrete Institute's committees on Materials Science of Concrete (ACI 236) and Nanotechnology of Concrete (ACI 241).

Professor Sanchez is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award in 2006. 

Selected Publications
•  Stephens C, Brown L, Sanchez F. Quantification of the re-agglomeration of carbon nanofiber aqueous dispersion in cement pastes and effect on the early age flexural response. Carbon. 2016;107:482-500. DOI:
•  Brown, L. and Sanchez, F. Influence of carbon nanofiber clustering on the chemo-mechanical behavior of cement pastes. Cement and Concrete Composites, 65: 101-109. 2016. DOI:
•  Sanchez F, Sobolev K. Nanotechnology in concrete: A review. Construct Build Mater. 2010;24(11):2060-71. DOI:
•  Sanchez F, Borwankar A. Multi-scale performance of carbon microfiber reinforced cement-based composites exposed to a decalcifying environment. Mater Sci Eng, A. 2010;527(1314):3151-8. DOI:
•  Sanchez F, Zhang L. Interaction energies, structure, and dynamics at functionalized graphitic structure-liquid phase interfaces in an aqueous calcium sulfate solution by molecular dynamics simulation. Carbon. 2010;48(4):1210-23. DOI:
•  Sanchez F, Zhang L. Molecular dynamics modeling of the interface between surface functionalized graphitic structures and calcium-silicate-hydrate: Interaction energies, structure, and dynamics. J Colloid Interface Sci. 2008;323(2):349-58. DOI:

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