Nanoscale behavior of polymers

Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Faculty Advisor
Joseph Turner
Contact Email
Potential UCARE Research Position?
Start Date
Paid or Volunteer
Paid Rate
$12/hour or UCARE

The study of the new materials requires measurements at the micro- and nanoscales. The interphase of the composite materials, biological cells, and 2D materials are just some examples that illustrate the demand for of the measurement techniques at small scales. Nanoindentation and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are two popular techniques which can be applied for characterization of mechanical properties. More specifically, polymers (synthetic and bio-based) exhibit time-dependent behavior that is more challenging to quantify. For such measurements, the samples need to be well prepared because poor surfaces will compromise the integrity of the results.

Accordingly, this project contains two main phases. As the first step the student will design a system for polymer sample preparation. Microtome is the main system that is used for cutting samples below their glass transition temperature, where they are in glassy state. After that the student will work with this system to prepare different polymer samples in order to do small scale mechanical measurements on them. For this work the student will learn to perform measurements using instruments such as the nanoindenter, AFM, and nanoIR-AFM.

Back to Research Opportunities