Dr. Rick D. Davis is the leader of and a materials research engineer in the Flammability Reduction Group of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In 2000, Dr. Davis joined the Materials Flammability Group in the Fire Research Division of NIST as a National Research Council sponsored Post-Doctoral. Dr. Davis addressed the measure science needs of the polymer nanocomposite community by developing and utilizing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, Fluorescence spectroscopy, and Dielectric spectroscopy to quantify nanoparticle concentration, dispersion and distribution in polymer matrices. Using these techniques in conjunction with fluorescence probes, Dr. Davis expanded the science community's understanding of the impact processing parameters have on the quality of the nanocomposite and polymer/nanoparticle degradation.
In 2002, Dr. Davis accepted a permanent position as a Materials Research Engineer in the Materials Flammability group. Dr. Davis continued to address the measurement science needs of the nanocomposite community, but switched the focus towards developing High Throughput Tools and Methodologies to accelerate nanocomposite research rather than focusing on the materials themselves. These HT-tools and methodologies were then used to identify antagonistic and synergistic interactions of additive packages on the mechanical and fire performance of additive filled polymers.
After working in industry for 4 years on HT tools and application development for rubber and adhesives products, Dr. Davis returned to NIST. In 2008, Dr. Davis joined the Materials Flammability Group where his research now focuses on addressing the fire science measurement science needs of soft furnishings and firefighter protective clothing. Dr. Davis manages several projects associated with understanding the fire threat of burning upholstered furniture, mattresses, and bedclothes. Dr Davis' team is developing the technical tools, methodologies, and knowledge needed to assess the fire threat, evaluate performance, and develop standards and/or fire performance regulations. Dr. Davis also manages projects focused on developing the technical tools, methodologies, and knowledge needed to assess the impact of environmental stresses on the performance of firefighter protective clothing. Tying these two research areas together are projects using Layer-by-Layer coatings on these substrates (foam, textiles, etc.) to achieve superior performance, to extend the service life of a product, and/or to allow for lower cost replacement or products.