Current Projects

Our group focusses on the fundamentals and applications of sustainable and lightweight functional materials and manufacturing. Encompassing the “Materials Genome Initiative” and “Advanced Manufacturing Partnership”, our work aims to create a crosscutting paradigm at the interface of polymer chemistry, polymer physics, energy resources, materials engineering, manufacturing science, and intelligent informatics. Some current projects in the lab include:

Advanced Materials

  • Influence of molecular architecture on toughening high-strength cellulose-based polymeric nanocomposites. By developing new interfacial architectures, we are building mechanisms to induce simultaneous enhancement in strength, stiffness and toughness in polymer composites/nanocomposites.
  • The fundamental process of reaction- and cure-kinetics in sustainable polymers. By understanding and solving molecular arrangements in unsaturated polymers, we are building platforms to synthesize new macromolecular compounds with enhanced performance for structural applications.
  • Green protocols for renewable materials synthesis. Leveraging the 12 principles of green chemistry, we are building protocols for green synthesis of sustainable polymers from non-food-based precursors including lignin and rendered wastes.
  • High energy- and power-density, durable Si-based anodes. We want to understand the fundamental process flow of energy translation in anodes. Using a combination of polymer chemistry, process physics, and interfacial techniques, we are developing Si-based anodes for increasing the capacity up to 4200 mAh/g with high energy and high-power density.
  • Molecularly-engineered Si-based material systems as next-generation sustainable thermoelectrics. We want to understand the arrangement of atoms that are not just thermodynamically favorable but also yield the desired signals and response: mechanical, thermal, and highest possible ZT. By solving the inertia in thermoelectric systems, we are building reconfigurable metamaterials with unique molecular architectures.

Advanced Manufacturing

  • High strength, low-density nanostructured foams. Overcoming the long-standing inertia in supercritical fluid-assisted foams, we want to understand the fundamental phenomena behind shear- and strain-induced nucleation of bubbles in foam processing and develop mechanisms to induce nano-cellular architectures in polymers using a continuous processing technology.
  • Multi-material constructs using hybrid manufacturing technology. By solving manufacturing inertia in multi-material architectures, we are building a new platform for single shot manufacturing of multi-material constructs including metals, polymers, composites and foams.
  • Process flow mechanics and manufacturing in similar and dissimilar materials joining.
  • Functional design and manufacturing of lightweight composites science and technology: Repurposed, Durable and Cost-effective.

“Understanding the endurance in research and innovation through circular economy-enabled life-cycle systems design and analysis.”