When polymer materials are stretched, they bend, deform, and ultimately break. How do we understand this process and control it to yield better materials? This project explores how glassy structure, crystallinity, and entanglements affect polymer mechanics. Employing computational, theoretical, and data-science-driven techniques, we develop next-generation plastics and compatibilizers. This work is in conjunction with NIST's Polymer Analytics and Circular Economy projects.
While branched polymers have many technological applications, the structural characterization of these polymers poses experimental challenges. Though many theories assume a single, well-defined structure, synthesizing these macromolecules produces a wide distribution of architectures. Using in silico methods can solve these issues by allowing precise structural control and rapid fabrication of new materials. We generate relationships between polymer architecture and dilute solution properties, such as the intrinsic viscosity, radius of gyration, and hydrodynamic radius. Working closely with experiments, we plan to use these relationships to improve recycling techniques. This work is part of NIST's Macromolecular Architectures and Circular Economy projects.
A selection of non-NIST publications is provided below. A complete list is available on my Google Scholar. * co-first authorship.
MML Postdoctoral Fellow Accolade for "Outstanding modeling of polyolefins in support of the circular economy", 2022