My primary interest is the measurement of non-equilibrium phenomena in soft matter, with particular focus on those that occur in polymer processing.
Additive Manufacturing (AM)
Measurement of the fundamentals of fused filament fabrication (FFF)
Additive Manufacturing (AM) refers to a rapidly growing set of technologies whereby custom objects are built up from 3D digital designs via computer-controlled addition of materials. Currently, most materials used in AM were developed for traditional processing applications and most AM manufacturing does not employ feedback protocols based on multi-scale measurement and modeling of the processes. Additive Manufacturing can fundamentally transform manufacturing of goods by allowing for mass customization.
We are measuring the fundamental processes
and material parameters that are critical to understanding and furthering polymers-based
AM. A primary problem in AM by fused filament fabrication concerns the low adhesive strength between adjacent strands. In order for a strong adhesive bond to form,
polymers from adjacent strands must interdiffusive and entangle with each other
before the polymers chains are frozen in-place by crystallization or by glass
formation. The temperature profile of
the FDM process is such that this interdiffusion is limited by low temperatures,
short times and lack of shearing forces.
In order to overcome these limitations, new materials and processes that allow more efficient fusion must be developed. We are guiding industry through the great "phase space" of materials, mixtures, and processing protocols by development of the tools that link the molecular level considerations (polymer chain-length, polymer branching, polymer chemistry) with nano-scale processes (polymer interdiffusion and crystallization across the interface) to the ultimate properties (adhesive strength).
We are measuring the temperature profiles during FFF with IR thermometry and correlating that with rheology, interdiffusion and ultimate weld strength. With J. Seppala, A. Kotula, C. Davis, R. Ricker, C. McIlroy, P. Olmsted
Meeting Abstract: Flow and thermal profiles of fused deposition modeling extrusion
Polymer Crystallization and Flow
Development of Rheo-Raman Microscopy
The mechanism of polymer crystallization under non-equilibrium conditions, such as those that occur in industrial processing, is still unknown and prevents a scientific approach to development of new materials. We are applying Raman spectroscopy to this problem because of its ability to measure molecular conformational changes that lead to the crystalline structures. We have teamed with a major vendor to realize "Rheo-Raman Microscopy" that performs simultaneous Raman microscopy, rheology and optical microscopy. This allows for for unprecedented measurement of the coupling between molecular conformation, microscopic structure and mechanical response. Beyond the immediate application of polymer crystallization, we intend to establish the instrument's suitability to problems in diverse areas such as nano-composites, curing, multi-component materials, and bio-materials. With A. Kotula, A. Hight Walker, D. Roy, M. Meyer, J. Plog, F. De Vito
Rheology and processing of polymer nanotube composites
First in-situ measurements of "conductivity thinning" and die swell elimination We showed how these effects originate from negative normal forces that are induced by the nanotubes during flow. These measurements are important because they demonstrated the potential for nanotubes to impart improvements in both processing and material performance.
We developed the first system to simultaneously measure the rheological and dielectric response of a polymer to applied flow. We used it to show the intimate coupling between the two for carbon nanotube composites under flow, and raised interesting questions as to why rheological thinning proceeds conductivity thinning. Following this work, vendors now provide the option to add dielectric spectroscopy capability to their commercial rheometers. With S. Kharchenko, J. Obrzut, J. DouglasSelected Publications:
Flow-induced properties of nanotube-filled polymer materialsBreakup of Carbon Nanotube Flocs in Microfluidic TrapsShear-Induced Conductor-Insulator Transition in Melt Mixed Polypropylene-Carbon Nanotube Dispersions
Three Dimensional Cluster Distributions in Processed Multi-wall Carbon Nanotube Polymer Composites
Polymer processing lab on a chip
Developing a new paradigm for polymer processing measurements
Inspired by the advent of micro-fluidics, we asked if measurements of polymer processing parameters can be similarly reduced in size. We set out to develop a new R&D platform for polymer processing that reduces sample volume, and therefore waste, and significantly increase the speed of materials development. Termed the "polymer processing lab on a chip," we shrunk measurement and processing techniques so that typical experiments require 100 times less material. From the measurement perspective, we developed a rheological measurement that is similar in principle to capillary rheometry but can be conducted in parallel (at least four at a time) using only a single pellet of material. This micro‑rheometry method uses optical probes to monitor the flow front as the polymer fills a capillary channel. Even with the size reduction, the accuracy of this method is similar to standard rheological methods. Further, due to the reduced sample volume, these measurements are considerably less sensitive to the confounding effect of shear heating.
From the polymer
processing perspective, we showed how to blend
polymers at these greatly reduced volumes via a planar polymer micro-mixer. Utilizing a split-and-recombine approach, we generated numerous blend morphologies: multi-layers, domain/matrix, and
telescopic structures. With D. Moon, M. Cicerone, Y. Lee.
Selected Publications:Multi-sample micro-slit rheometryMeasurement of Dynamic Capillary Pressure and Viscosity via the Multi-Sample Micro-Slit RheometerForced Assembly and Mixing of Melts via Planar Polymer Micro-MixingQuantitative Image Analysis of Broadband CARS Microscopy Hyperspectral Images of Polymer Blends
MEMS and micro-rheometers
Develop of MEMS rheometer Our goal is to develop and promote the adoption of small-volume rheological methods for complex fluids including bio-fluids, where small volume capability is advantageous because it is the natural length scale, the sample size availability is small, or the technique is more sensitive. We have constructed and tested an oscillatory micro-rheometer using MEMS based fabrication technology to measure the frequency dependant modulli of complex fluids, such as bio-fluids. With G. Christopher, S. Hudson, J. Pathak and P. Sarangapani, J. Kasianowicz, J.Robertson, See project pageSelected Publications:A Microliter Capillary Rheometer for Characterization of Protein SolutionsDevelopment of a MEMS based Dynamic RheometerRectification of the Ionic Current through Carbon Nanotubes by Electrostatic Assembly of Polyelectrolytes
Two component polymer blends
Discovered the droplet-string transition in confined blends under shear: Prior to our work, virtually all research on the flow of emulsions and two component blends was conducted in the unconfined limit, defined as the droplet size being much smaller than the smallest geometrical dimension. We showed that the effects of confinement are enormous; we mapped out a rich experimental landscape that included new structures; strings, layering of droplets and pearl- necklaces. We then considered the simpler system of a single confined droplet and found that the well-known Taylor diagram from the 1930s is strongly altered by confinement. Numerous researchers have followed up on these pioneering observations. These concepts form the basis for droplet based microfluidics.
Discovered vorticity alignment in
strongly sheared polymer blends We discovered
that under certain circumstances that sheared droplets can align in the
vorticity direction. This was an
unexpected finding and counter to prevailing wisdom. We traced the effect back to
droplet elasticity. We were able to
make these vorticity observations in both model shear studies, as well as in
extrusion based studies, showing how the laboratory results are relevant to
With J. Pathak, S. Hudson, Y. Son, E. Hobbie, J. Douglas, N. Martys
Layered Droplet Microstructures in Sheared Emulsions: Finite-Size EffectsDroplet-String Deformation and Stability During Micro-Confined Shear FlowSuppression of Capillary Instability of a Polymeric Thread via Parallel Plate Confinement
Droplet Vorticity Alignment in Model Polymer Blends Vorticity elongation in polymeric emulsions
Sharkskin and fluoropolymers
Settled debate over mechanism of the sharkskin
Sharkskin (aka surface melt flow instability) is a manufacturing defect that causes a rippled texture on the surface of extruded polymers; the origins have been long debated. Most prior work employed indirect pressure/shear rate measurements
coupled with off-line measures of extrudate strand waviness. We settled crucial aspects of the debate by
visualizing the polymer melt flow in the immediate vicinity of the exit of a
capillary die and conducted painstaking measurements of the velocity field in
this region. We found compelling evidence that the sharkskin is caused by
extensional rates exceeding critical values.
First measurement of Polymer/Polymer Slippage and the fluoropolymer elimination of sharkskin. We made the first direct and definitive measurement of polymer/polymer slippage and used it to demonstrate how fluoropolymers eliminate sharkskin in polyolefins. It was long known that addition of fluoropolymers in trace amounts to certain polyolefins can eliminate sharkskin, yet there had been no direct observations of how this occurs and only speculations as to why. We led teams that included Professor Macosko, 3M/Dyneon and Dow DuPont Elastomers (DDE). We developed direct velocimetry and evanescent-wave techniques that measure the coating of fluoropolymers onto the die wall with a sensitivity of 20 nm coating thickness. These unprecedented techniques provided definitive proof of how fluoropolymers coat the solid wall and then induce slippage of the polyolefin. We further showed that the fluoropolymer droplet size affects the coating kinetics, which formed the scientific basis for a new product launch. with C. Lavalle, C. Macosko, S. Kharchenko, D. Bigio, P. McGuiggan, M. Meillon, S. Oriani
Selected Publications:Visualizing the elimination of sharkskin through fluoropolymer additives: Coating and polymer-polymer slippageExtensional Deformation, Cohesive Failure, and Boundary Conditions During Sharkskin Melt FractureFlow induced coating of fluoropolymer additives:Development of frustrated total internal reflection imagingCoating Kinetics of Fluoropolymer Processing Aids for Sharkskin Elimination: the Role of Droplet Size
Polymer Processing Measurements: Temperature and Blend Morphology
Temperature Gradients We led an industrial consortium whose goal was to accurately measure polymer temperature during processing operations. Industrial scientists had been unsuccessful in making accurate resin temperature measurements by methods such as IR or thermocouples because of shear heating, moving extruder screws and high resin viscosity. We thus employed a novel approach based on doping of fluorescence dyes that exhibit temperature dependent fluorescence into polymeric resins. We observed temperature excursions exceeding 20 °C, along with temperature gradients from the metallic wall into the resin. These methods were copied by consortium members and implemented in their home laboratories.
Blend Morphology We developed an in-situ microscope and light scattering apparatus for polymer blends extrusion. The measurements are conducted in the slit-die of a twin screw extruder. With AJ Bur, EJ Amis, CC Han & E HobbieSelected publications:Fluorescence based measurement of temperature profiles during polymer processing
Polymer slippage First definitive measurement of polymer slippage at a solid surface. It is now well-understood that molten polymers can slip at solid surfaces – with major implication for rheology and processing - but in the 90's this notion was still under debate due to lack of direct evidence. Dr. Migler, with Liliane Leger, utilized fluorescent evanescent velocimetry to measure the polymer velocity in the first 70 nm from a solid substrate and made the first direct evidence of polymer slippage. This work led directly to the deGennes Brochard model of polymer slippage and was followed by a flourishing of slippage observations in complex fluids. With L. Leger & H. Hervet, P.G. de Gennes, F. Brochard
Publication: Slip transition of a polymer melt under shear stress
Polymer Solutions under Shear Studied the correlation between stress overshoots in sheared polymer solutions and the amplitude of concentration fluctuations. With D. Pine
My thesis research with Robert B Meyer concerned pattern formation in nematic liquid crystals. It was so long ago I can't really remember it, but it generated some really cool pictures :)
Selected Publication: Solitons and pattern formation in liquid crystals in a rotating magnetic field
Dr. Kalman Migler is a staff scientist in the Polymers and Complex Fluids Group of the Materials Science and Engineering Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Previously, he was the Complex Fluids Group Leader following eight years as a Physicist in the Polymer Blends and Processing Group. Before joining NIST, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Exxon’s Corporate Research Laboratory and at the Collège de France. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Brandeis University.
Awards, Honors and Activities
William P. Slichter Award, 1997. For developing novel optical probes of polymer properties and effectively transferring these measurement methods to industry to control processing.
Bronze Medal, Department of Commerce, 2003. For the development and application of flow visualization metrologies to polymeric materials
Best Paper Award, Society of Plastics Engineers, 2003. For the presentation of the paper “Flow Induced Coating of Polymer Processing Additives: Development of Frustrated Total Internal Reflection Imaging"
NIST Safety Award, 2011. For developing, as founding members of the Engineered Nanoparticle Safety Committee, a comprehensive program for the safe use of nanoparticles at NIST.
Silver Medal, Department of Commerce, 2014. For pioneering work in carbon nanotube purification, measurements,
and standards that enable application of this remarkable material to
Fellow of the American Physical Society, For definitive optical and rheological experiments concerning the physics of polymer flow to identify slippage and multiphase behavior.
Local Arrangements Chair for the 87th Annual Meeting of the Society of Rheology
Technical co-Chair for the 88th Annual Meeting of the Society of Rheology
Founding member of ANSI Working Group for Measurement and Characterization for Nanotechnology Standards, TC 229/WG2
Opportunities for post-doctoral research fellowships are available through the NRC postdoctoral program.
Materials Science and Engineering
Polymers and Complex Fluids
2013 - present
2001 - 2012
1994 - 2000
Ph. D., Physics (Professor Robert B. Meyer), Brandeis University, 1992
B.A., Physics, University of Pennsylvania, 1984