Our first experimental paper in our ongoing collaboration with the Diesendruck group on single chain polymer nanoparticles (SCPN) is out in Macromolecules. This manuscript presents the first ever mechanical testing on bulk polymers composed entirely of this novel SCPN architecture for which bulk properties can be tailored by changing the degree of SCPN cross-linking. Or Galant and Suwon Bae worked closely together during Or’s stay in our lab last summer to work out the sample preparation and testing methods that ultimately led to this publication.
Congratulations to Meenakshi Manivannan for successfully defending his PhD this past Friday! Meenakshi will be the first MMD lab PhD graduate. His dissertation “Multiscale Modeling and Design of Mechanochemically Active Interfaces” covered his last four years of research using computational and analytical tools to discover the key physics governing mechanophore behavior in composites.
The MMD lab hosted a University U workshop as part of the annual 4-H Career Explorations program on Cornell’s campus. Six groups of rising 8th and 9th graders from around NY State rotated through our 80 minute session “Breaking Bonds and Changing Colors: A Mechanical Engineering Take on Chemistry”. Students acted out different types of bonds and conducted their own tensile tests. Although not depicted here, everyone in the lab rotated through running the sessions. Thanks to Alexa Maille and the rest of the 4-H team for a very helpful training workshop and making all the organizational aspects run seamlessly.
Introducing science at the intersection of solid mechanics and chemistry. We had six groups of 15 students rotate through our lab over a day and a half.
Students conducted their own polymer stress-strain characterization.
The MMD lab survived its first ever group Cayuga Lake trip. And we even found some other kayakers to take our picture!
Also, welcome to our summer undergraduates Maegan Cremar, Kenneth Fang, and Julia Owens.
Graduate student Naigeng Chen was accepted into the the Society for Experimental Mechanics student paper competition earlier this spring and competed this past week at the annual conference in Indianapolis. He presented the approach he has developed over the past two years for determining bond strength in non-wovens.
Graduate student Suwon Bae has published his work on the thermo-mechanical properties of single chain polymer nanoparticles in Soft Matter. This work is in collaboration with Or Galant of the Diesendruck group at the Technion who spent the summer as a visiting student in our lab. This first ever study on the mechanical properties of SCPN showed through molecular dynamics simulations that many of the design rules for bulk polymers apply to SCPN as well.
Prof Silberstein won the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her proposed research project “Building a Mechanistic Understanding of Mechanochemically Adaptive Polymers.” This 5 year grant will enable the MMD lab to significantly advance the mechanics framework for mechanochemically enabled function in both rubbery and glassy materials. This work will lead to materials that adapt productively to the onset of mechanical damage rather than degrade.