Graphene, boron nitride, dichalcogenides and other inorganic 2D layered materials (2DLM) have atomically thin structure with unique electrical, mechanical, thermal, and optical properties, and have already been extensively explored for electronics, sensing, catalysis and biomedical applications. On the other hand, in the polymer world, there is an emerging class of 2D polymers with analog structure to 2D layered materials.
Soft particle glasses (SPGs) are composed of elastic non-Brownian particles that are jammed beyond the packing fraction of equivalent hard spheres. SPGs show solid-like behavior at rest, and they flow when subjected to external stimuli such as shear deformation. Considering this tunable rheological property, they have been used as additives in many products such as cosmetic creams, hair gels, food products, paper coating industries, and recently it has been suggested that these suspensions can be used in the drilling muds.
Our group has developed a rheological apparatus capable of sustaining spatial thermal gradients in shear rheometry. It is hypothesized that orthogonally superimposed thermal fields will produce linear, field-averaged rheological responses up to a threshold where anomalous, thermo-rheological dissipative phenomena will occur. The molecular influence of heat flow, especially at reduced dimensions, is from entropy production.
Our group has recently discovered a material system that potentially may have elastomeric properties. The Internation Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) defines an elastomer as a polymer that displays rubber-like elasticity, i.e. high viscoelasticity with weak intermolecular forces. We are seeking a highly motivated and ambitious student to assist us in exploring this material system for its potential elastomeric properties and to help us elucidate the rational design of such a material system through characterization of the material properties of various molecular constructs.
Our group has developed a rheological apparatus capable of sustaining spatial thermal gradients in shear rheometry. It is hypothesized that orthogonally superimposed thermal fields will produce linear, field-averaged rheological responses up to a threshold where anomalous, thermo-rheological dissipative phenomena will occur. The molecular influence of heat flow, especially at reduced dimensions, is from entropy production. Translational and orientational motions evolve as a molecular compensation mechanism.
Helicenes are polycyclic aromatic compounds which are formed by ortho-fused aromatic rings that generate a non-planar, screw-shaped, three-dimensional structure that is inherently chiral and spring-like. The helical topology significantly contributes to the emergent properties of helicenes and has been garnering interest in the fields of nanotechnology, macromolecular and materials science.
Ionic liquids (ILs) are defined as salts that melt at or below 373 K. A typical IL is composed of a bulky organic cation and an inorganic or organic anion. As a group, many ILs tend to be miscible with many organic solvents. They show low vapor pressure, high viscosity and low degree of toxicity. At low temperatures ILs do not crystallize; instead, they form a glassy phase, while at high temperatures they flow with high viscosity, which is due to the strong electrostatic interactions between cations and anions.
Manufacturing new energy systems such as fuel cells, batteries, wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, and catalytic reactors require materials that may be (1) precious, (2) rare on the earth, (3) not available or easily accessible in the United States, and/or (4) harmful for environment. Therefore, recycling (separation and reusing) energy materials is important.
This project looks to design new corrosion inhibitors through experimentation and computer-aided design. The undergraduate student will work with a graduate student, assisting them in performing experiments on various systems and in the computer-aided design aspects of the project.
Plastic waste recycling is plagued by imperfect sorting processes which leaves recycling feeds contaminated with polymers of different molecular composition. These blends have thermodynamic driving forces to phase separate and entropic forces which produce weak interfaces between the materials.
This project aims to investigate the effect of soluble salts on the failure of coatings. The corrosion resistance and adhesion of the coating will be studied to understand the influence of soluble salts.
This project aims to investigate the effect of pigments on the properties of coatings. The high-performance pigments are expected to improve the coating’s corrosion resistance and UV stability.
This project aims to develop a new biobased coating from substaniable resources. The coating is expected to be comparable to the petroleum based coating.
This project aims to develop a new approach to generate polyurethane coating without using isocyanates, which are very toxic materials. The non-isocyanate polyurethane is expected to behave similar to the traditional isocyanate-based polyurethane.
This project aims to develop a “cool” coating by invorporating inorganic pigments that reflect near-infrared radiation (NIR) into a commercial coating matrix.
The project consists of designing and fabricating photo-programmable microstructures consist of microfluidic ecosystem and interacting biological species. The biohybrid system exploits power, sensing and navigation of the biological components and the sensivity of the photo-active parts to tune the dynamics of species within the micro-ecosystem.
The Joy Lab has developed a platform of polyesters and polyurethanes that are being utilized for the incorporation and sustained delivery of therapeutics. The undergraduate student working on the project will work specifically towards the synthesis of the polymers, incorporation of the therapeutic within the polymer and analyze the release kinetics. The student will gain experience in synthesis and characterization of polymers and in the analysis and interpretation of experimental data.
The purpose of this study is to develop a novel double network hydrogel that will be able to exhibit greater mechanical properties to become more applicable in the medical field will help to explore fundamental understanding about the double network hydrogel and materials to create it for future development.
Our team has developed flexible, lightweight fabric materials that can selectively determine physiological information from sweat forming on the surface of the skin. The technology is the first lightweight fabric sensor to provide real-time information regarding hydration levels during exercise or training through selective determination of sodium ion levels.
Nanofibers have different wetting properties than glass fibers used in common filter media. Recent works with modifying surface properties of filter media shows non-wetting chemical coatings applied in striped patterns can improve performance of coalescing filters. The hypothesis for this work is the nanofibers which enhance wetting properties and droplet capture will similary improve filter performance if applied in striped patterns.
We use a bioengineering approach to develop biomimetic three-dimensional tumor models to understand the disease biology and test and identify novel treatments. We are an interdisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students tackling a very significant problem using a combination of biomedical and biological approaches.
Pyrolyzed (process of low or no oxygen thermal decomposition –carbonization- to convert biomass into clean and renewable carbon products) biomass obtained from agricultural products such as soybean hulls, sorghum etc., is used as a renewable, low cost and eco-friendly material which has large potential for reinforcement or functionality-inducing (such as electrical, thermal conductivity) filler for polymeric materials.
The formation of polymer networks inevitably introduces topological defects, such as loops. While these defects undermine the mechanical properties of the materials, they could also bring opportunities for the design of new materials.
Controlling and measuring the intermolecular distance in supramolecular structures are important as well as challenaging. To achive both at the same time, we are chemically incorporating an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) luminophore into a charged macromoleculre, which can self-assemble into stable supramolecular structures of different intermolecular distances through the careful regulation of the physical interactions between the building blocks.
The participants will have experience on the synthesis of macromolecules and several advanced characterization techniques such as light scattering, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscope (AFM), etc.
Hydrogel, conventionally defined as networks held up by cross-links and entrapping solvent in intermolecular spaces, has been widely used in clinic trials. Understanding the formation mechanism will be helpful to develop new materials.
In our group, we use chiral nano-cages as simple models to explore what has happened during the early stages of life led to “homochirality” phenomena.
“White pollution” is a problem of massive scale. To replace the current nondegradable commodity plastics with degradable plastics, a key challenge is that the new raw materials must be readily available at costs comparable to current monomers such as ethylene and propylene. Low-carbon footprint is highly desirable for these raw materials in order to achieve overall environmental sustainability.
Synthetic degradable polymers are of pivotal importance for recycling and sustainability. While the degradability allows polymers to be recycled, it can also cause stability issue, which impairs the storage and functioning of materials.
Understanding the physical and chemical interactions between ice and materials is of interest in order to tune adhesion and friction on ice to meet various material demands. For example, it is important for tires to have good traction on ice and snow, and low ice adhesion coatings are needed for applications on aircraft, power lines, wind turbines, and costal structures/ships. This project aims to find specific material surface properties in nature that have been evolved to either increase or decrease ice nucleation, adhesion, and/or friction.
In this project, students will conduct experimental testing and computational analysis at Prof. K.T. Tan’s Advanced Metacomposites Laboratory to investigate the amazing bone structure of biological models with flight capability.
Structural color-based printing inks possesses several advantages to conventional pigmentary inks in terms of color perpetuity and cost effectiveness. However, there are certain challenges while using these structural color systems.
The concept of biomimicry is solving problems and creating new opportunities through understanding and applying biological models. Very often, innovation inspired by nature and careful examination of the natural world are potential ways to seek solution to real-world problems. In this project, students will conduct experimental testing and computational analysis at Prof. K.T. Tan’s Advanced Metacomposites Laboratory to investigate the amazing structure of biological models.
Metamaterials represent an innovative and emerging research field, where materials exhibit unique properties not commonly found in natural materials. In our study of mechanical metamaterials, we design structural materials with negative Poisson’s ratio and negative effective mass property, which can be achieved by careful design of man-made microstructures.
Composite materials are commonly employed in modern aircraft structures and in many aerospace applications like engine casing, fan-blades, etc. This is attributed to their high strength-weight ratio and high stiffness-weight ratio, making composites extremely light, yet exceptionally strong. However, the use of composites makes them susceptible to damage, which could result in complex failure mechanisms like delamination, matrix cracking, fiber debonding, fiber fracture, etc.
The project will focus on the 3D printed polymer electrolyte and related lithium ion battery components.
Mechanical stress is ubiquitously present in materials and biological systems, and the force-induced bond scission and materials failure have been extensively studied. In recent years, utilizing mechanical force to do targeted and constructive chemistry, largely fueled by the concept of mechanophore, i.e., stress-responsive moiety, has become a new trend.
There are a variety of material and testing concepts being pursued for high temperature, extreme environments with stress for a number of advanced materials (high temperature ceramic composites and coatings) research projects.