Sigma-Xi PhD Thesis Award College of Engineering Georgia Tech Calendar Year 1998
Here we examine the deformation of a glassy epoxy, SU-8, which has applications in microelectronics and microelectromechanical systems. We are in the process of understanding the yield behavior at the level of molecular network chains. We are employing advanced experimental tools such as Nanoindentation and Microcompression, and a self-consistent combination of FEA and molecular theory, to examine the entire deformation behavior.
Highly filled elastomers find application as solid rocket propellant, as well as in being a rich resource for interesting physics at various scales. The polymeric systems are copolymers, represented in a coarse-grained form, to accurately represent bulk behavior, as well as to form a basis for the framework for interactions with various heterogeneous fillers. The objective is a multi-faceted understanding of such richly endowed systems, with relevant macroscopic properties and applications.
The focus here is scale-up of solid-state polymerization as well as in-situ nanocomposite synthesis of Poly(L-lactic acid) systems. The work is at a practical level, to address typical conditions in India, particularly for scale-up. We are also exploring bioresourced nano-reinforcement for the polymer.
Biopolymers such as Dragline Spider Silk, are modeled by a different set of physical and mathematical equations, primarily because of the nature of the units comprising the polymer chains. However, the conceptual similarity in chain structure and physical morphology, enable application of conventional polymer physics concepts, with the modified mathematics superimposed. Indeed, the biophysical aspects such as interaction with water in their natural environment, makes for additional excitement in the investigation.