We are studying polymer behavior using a wide range of methods, from atomistic modeling to experimental rheology. These tools are used to investigate research topics such as polyethylene crystallization, polymer-colloid interactions, and systems of branched star polymers and polymer blends. Our goal is to model the behavior of complex fluids to understand fundamental phenomena, inform the design of new materials, and fortify predictive mathematical models for polymer processing applications.
Surfactants and Lipids
We use a variety of simulations, including atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics and mesoscopic simulations, to study the flow behavior and structure of surfactant solutions. We combine experimental linear and nonlinear rheology with modeling to better understand the underlying physics and microstructure that govern the macroscopic flow behavior of surfactant solutions. Additionally, we study interactions in mixed polymer and surfactant solutions and the thermodynamics of surfactants at interfaces.
We are interested in understanding the fundamentals of polyelectrolyte behavior. This includes polyelectrolytes both in solution and in multilayer films. The goal is to be able to predict and understand how/why polyelectrolytes complex, and how this is influenced by complicated factors such as ion pairing, charge regulation, and counterion condensation. We are modeling the thermodynamics of polyelectrolyte phase separation (complex coacervation), and also conducting experiments in this area as well. We are also interested in understanding the self-assembly of polyelectrolytes in multilayer (layer-by-layer, LbL) films. This includes fundamental experimental studies on model systems.