Welcome to Nikola Bosnjak and Max Tepermeister who joined the MMD lab this fall. Nikola is a postdoc who recently completed his PhD at NJIT on mechanics of gels. Max is a first year PhD student in the mechanical engineering field.
“Can Polyelectrolyte Mechanical Properties Be Directly Modulated By an Electric Field? A Molecular Dynamics Study” has just been published in Advanced Functional Materials. This study was carried out by first author Prathamesh Raiter who just completed his MS in the lab, and the concept came from former postdoc Yuval Vidavsky. Using molecular dynamics, this work shows that the bulk mechanical properties of polyelectrolytes can be modulated by the application of electric fields. The dominant mechanisms responsible for the stiffening and strengthening in the explored systems are chain orientation, chain extension, entanglement density and electrostatic interactions. These functional materials have potential applications within the soft robotics and energy fields.
Congratulations to Prof Silberstein for winning the Wolfgang Knauss Young Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Mechanics (https://sem.org/awardsknauss). This award is given biannually by the SEM in recognition of an individual who has made significant research contributions to the broad field of experimental mechanics, with a focus on time dependent materials. Prof Silberstein’s award is for “significant contributions in the areas of macromolecular tailoring, mechano chemistry, and the mechanics of polymeric nanofiber networks and developing constitutive models based on novel experimental techniques.” Many thanks to Prof Liechti for shipping the award since SEM was virtual this year.
Congratulations to Allison Rzepka and Prathamesh Raiter for completing their bachelors and masters degrees respectively in Materials Science and Engineering! In her undergraduate thesis, Allison devised a procedure for depositing liquid metal capsules onto performance fabrics such that they could be stretch-activated into electrically conductive materials (side note: thank you Air Force Research Lab collaborators for enabling this project!). In his masters thesis, Raiter used molecular dynamics simulations to investigate novel electric stimuli responsive polymers. Both students have now had their theses approved.