Pierre-Thomas Brun

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Office Phone
A313 Engineering Quad

Ph.D., Mechanics, University of Paris VI, 2012

M.S., Chemical Engineering, Cambridge University, 2009

B.S., Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique, 2008


Honors and Awards

  • Early Career Award for Soft Matter Research, American Physical Society, 2023
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, National Science Foundation, 2021
  • SEAS Howard B. Wentz, Jr. Junior Faculty Award, 2019
  • APS Gallery of Fluid Motion, Milton van Dyke Award Winner, 2017
  • APS/DFD Gallery of Fluid Motion Award Winners, 2015


  • Associated Faculty, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
  • Associated Faculty, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Associated Faculty, Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials

Research Interests

My research is concerned with developing predictive models that rationalize the physics at play in problems arising in natural settings and model laboratory experiments. Through the elucidation of a variety of nature’s mechanisms, my group aims to inspire and inform the design of new technologies. Iteration between observation, analog experiment and theoretical modeling is a critical feature of my research, which is interdisciplinary by nature at the cusp of fluid mechanics, flexible solids mechanics, non-linear physics, biology and design.

Taming instabilities toward functionality

Patterns in nature have a staggering regularity that contrasts with the complexity of their constituent materials. The seemingness ease with which such patterns occur suggests that they are encoded in the "blueprint of nature". They are often the result of instabilities -- traditionally seen as the engineer's nemesis. Here, we propose to tame such instabilities and harness them in fluidic systems undergoing a phase change. With this perspective, we study problems involving thin fluid films, viscous threads (3D printing), microfluidics systems, but also elastic shells, swelling and elastocapillarity.

Shape morphing/ actuation and living matter

Applications are not limited to fluids and range from reversible shape-morphing and snapping in shells to morphogenesis. Furthering our capacity to elucidate those mechanisms through an improved formalism (theory/numerics/experiments) would indeed benefit our understanding of living matter and inform the development of bio-inspired or bio-augmented technology.

Selected Publications
  1. T.J. Jones, E. Jambon-Puillet, J. Marthelot and P.-T. Brun, ”Bubble casting soft-robotics”, Nature, 599(7884), 229-233, (2021).
  2. E. Jambon-Puillet, P.G. Ledda, F. Gallaire and P.-T. Brun, ”Drops on the Underside of a Slightly Inclined Wet Substrate Move Too Fast to Grow”. Phys. Rev. Lett., 127(4), 044503, (2021).
  3. E. Jambon-Puillet, M. Royer-Piechaud and P.-T. Brun, ”Elastic amplification of the Rayleigh–Taylor instability in solidifying melts”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., (2021).
  4. E. Jambon-Puillet and P.-T. Brun, ”Deformation and bursting of elastic capsules impacting a rigid wall”, Nat. Phys., 16 (5), 585-589, (2020).
  5. L. Cai, J. Marthelot, C. Falcón, P.M. Reis, P.-T. Brun, ”Printing on liquid elastomers”, Soft Matter, 16 (12), (2020).
  6. L. Cai, J. Marthelot and P.-T. Brun, ”An unbounded approach to microfluidics using the Rayleigh–Plateau instability of viscous threads directly drawn in a bath”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 116(46), (2019).
  7. J. Schleifer, J. Marthelot, T. J. Jones, and P.-T. Brun, ”The fingerprint of a flow: wrinkle patterns in nonuniform coatings on pre-stretched soft foundations.” Soft Matter, 15, 1405, (2019)
  8. J. Marthelot, L. Strong, P.M. Reis and P.-T. Brun, ”Designing soft materials with interfacial instabilities in liquid films”, Nature Commun., (2018)