Research Themes

Field and Flow Based Transfer

The Polymer and Complex Fluids Group at CSM investigates field and flow-based transport processes from a variety of perspectives. These include investigations directed at the development of novel separations and characterization methods from a fundamentals standpoint as well as more application-oriented studies. Current areas include field-flow fractionation, microfluidics, rheology, rheo-optics, flow-scattering, field-based nanodevice development, novel liquid chromatographic methods, and polymer thermophoresis. The ability to manipulate systems of complex architecture at small length scales including polymeric and biological systems will prove vital for the development of nanoengineered systems.

molecule nanotechnology

Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

The Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology theme of the Center integrates various strengths of center members and focuses on exploiting the underlying properties of polymers and complex fluids for the molecular and morphological scale design of novel nanomaterials. In the area of polymers, for instance, projects draw on synthetic strategies (Knauss, Boyes), theory and simulation (Wu, Dorgan) and characterization (Dorgan, Knauss, Boyes) to design and create novel functional nanostructures, such as the switchable polymer based Soft NEMS (nano electromechanical structure) depicted below capable of switching between two conformational states with differing chemical and physical surface properties. The nanomaterials projects also interface with other focus areas of CSM such as Green Engineering. Prof. Dorgan is creating econanobiocomposites for a sustainable, molecularly engineered composite from biomass sources.

Synthesis and Molecular Design

The Polymer and Complex Fluids Group at CSM has expertise and capabilities in synthesis and design ranging from small molecules to macromolecules, from inorganic to organic, and from free molecules to those attached to surfaces. Research projects involve the conceptual design and implementation of synthetic strategies, mechanisms, and techniques to produce new molecules and materials. Specific focus on well-defined nanostructures, inorganic and organometallic compounds, and new methods for surface functionalization are applied to develop new catalysts, polymers for designed application, and improved environmentally sustainable processes. The area of design and synthesis integrates Green Chemistry and Green Engineering with Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology.

Core Capabilities



Theory and Simulation

Professors Wu and Dorgan lead the theory and simulation efforts, which serve both to suggest new experimental directions as well as support ongoing experiments. We have used liquid-state and field theoretical statistical mechanical approaches to equilibrium structure in polymers, statistical microhydrodynamic approaches for non-equilibrium interactions in colloids and polymers, and coupled network approaches for assembled structures of macromolecules. Our simulation efforts include molecular dynamics, a variety of traditional and novel Monte Carlo methods (e.g., kinetic, Pakula, cluster algorithms, dense Gibbs ensemble), and Brownian dynamics.


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