Welcome to the Soft Materials Group at Michigan State University! Our current research interests are the structure, dynamics, and mechanics of soft materials under complex external envrionment and under external perturbation. Specific topics are of great interest are (i) the surface and interface phenomena, including polymer nanocomposites and polymer-polymer adhesion in additive manufacturing; (ii) Polymers under strong electric field; (iii) Continuous gas transport phenomena in polymer membranes.
In the surface and interface project, we focus on the structure-property relationship of the interfacial polymer layer between polymer and walls (or nanoparticles) that show distincting dynamics from polymers away from the interfaces. Our newly developed methodology through dielectric spectroscopy allows one to quantify the structure (e.g. the interfacial layer thickness) and dynamics at the interfacial layer. By integrating this newly developed methodology to rheological test, we are targeting to build up reliable and robust structure-property relationship of polymers at the interface, accurate stress-strain correlation for interfacial polymers, and eventually a constitutive equation for polymer processing and design.
In the polymers under strong electric field (figure left below), we are interested in how the electric field align polymers and how that would affect the structure-flow behavior of polymers.
In the continous gas transport phenomena in polymer membranes (figure right above), we are intrigued by the trade-off between permeability and selectivity. One target is to design and develop novel porous polymeric materials with superior gas separation properties.