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The common theme that defines our research relates to synthetic polymer chemistry and how it might be used in creating well defined polymer structures. A large part of our work is devoted metathesis reactions, where the research has been mechanistic in nature. We immerse ourselves in the chemistry associated with creating new polymers, and we also find ourselves interested in modeling well known materials, like polyethylene, to better understand their behavior.
Richard J. Spontak was a research scientist with Procter & Gamble before he joined the NCSU faculty in 1992. Spontak has over 104 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and his work has been featured on the cover of Microsc. Res. Tech. and Langmuir. Spontak conducts studies to improve the current understanding of microstructural polymer systems, which are of scientific interest as self-assembling polymers and commercial value as adhesives, (bio)compatibilizing agents, nanotemplates, and membranes. His group’s efforts are at the cutting edge of block copolymer research: e.g., they have obtained the first 3D images of the bicontinuous gyroid (Ia3d) and sponge (L3) morphologies. They characterize polymers with electronspectroscopic microscopy, and dispersions/gels with freeze-fracture replication and cryo-TEM techniques. Use of these tools has expedited the study of block copolymers and their blends/gels, and has helped to elucidate novel polymer gelation mechanisms, PDLC composition/morphology relationships, and interpolymer complexation. Other areas of interest include polymer alloying through mechanical attrition, transmission electron microtemography, and modification of polymer solutions via salting-in.
Vakhtang Barbakadze has his expertise in isolation and structure elucidation of a new series of plant polyethers, which are endowed with pharmacological properties as anti-cancer agents. He has completed his Ph.D and D.Sci. in 1978 and 1999. He is the head of Department of plant biopolymers and chemical modification of natural compounds at the Tbilisi State Medical University Institute of Pharmacochemistry. 1996 and 2002 he has been a visiting scientist at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, by University Scholarship and The Netherlands organization for scientific research (NWO) Scholarship Scientific Program, respectively. He has published more than 100 papers in reputed journals.
Michael Fischlschweiger is full professor at Clausthal University of Technology. He is heading the Chair of Technical Thermodynamics and Energy Efficient Material Treatment at the Institute for Energy Process Engineering and Fuel Technology. He holds a BSc and MSc in Polymer Engineering & Science and a PhD in Materials Mechanics and Numerical Mathematics from the University of Leoben, Austria. The doctoral theses was conducted jointly between the Centre des Matériaux (MINES ParisTech) and the University of Leoben. Additionally, he holds a PhD in Thermodynamics from Technical University of Berlin. His major research focus is on theoretical and experimental thermodynamics for developing resource efficient materials, processes and products.