Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
PI: Satish Kumar, Associate Fellow
Continuum and Nanoscale Simulations of Polymer Dynamics
These researchers are pursuing three projects aimed at simulating various aspects of polymer dynamics at the nanometer and continuum scales. In the first, they are performing simulations of pattern formation in thin polymer films, with the goal of understanding how to tailor external influences to create desired nanometer-scale patterns. Fundamental knowledge gained from this work is expected to benefit a number of technologies, including coatings, microfluidics, and biomaterials. The researchers have shown how normal AC electric fields can be used to create unique nanostructures in single-layer films, and plan to investigate similar phenomena in bilayer films.
The second project involves Brownian dynamics simulations of polyelectrolyte adsorption at solid surfaces. This is a fundamental problem relevant to numerous practical applications in materials processing and biophysics. The work aims at clarifying the roles of surface heterogeneity (chemical and topographical), chain branching, and fluid flow on the adsorption process. The group has recently characterized how solvent quality and charge patterning affect adsorption in fluid flows, and is now focusing on diffusion of adsorbed polyelectrolytes. The group is also working on several related problems motivated by applications in printing, coating and microfluidics. These involve Brownian dynamics simulations of colloidal particle adsorption to create patterned particulate coatings, finite-element simulations of free-surface flows with moving contact lines that are relevant for liquid deposition and transfer in printing and coating, and finite-element simulations of multiphase flows in topographically patterned microfluidic channels.
A third project, just begun, investigates lithographic printing with the goal of using it to produce printed electronic devices on flexible substrates. This would be considerably cheaper and more environmentally friendly thatn current microelectronics fabrication methods.
Damien Brewer, Graduate Student
Shawn Dodds, Graduate Student
Nazish Hoda, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sreeram Kalpathy, Graduate Student
Scott Roberts, Graduate Student
Benson Tsai, Graduate Student
Eric Vandre, Graduate Student
Chunfeng Zhou, Research Associate