Congratulations to recent MMD graduates!

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.

New publication in Soft Matter Emerging Investigators Issue 2021

Check out our new paper (led by PhD candidate Xinyue(Joy) Zhang! This work aims to isolate the effect of transient metal–ligand crosslinking on the viscoelasticity of polymer networks. A systematic study combining both experimental results and theoretical verification was carried out through a carefully designed system that has no physical entanglements or phase separation. Also, thanks to our old friends – the Diesendruck group at the Technion for a great collaboration.


The inextricable links between distribution, behavior, and ensemble . . .

PhD candidate Michael Buche and Prof. Silberstein just published a paper on the constitutive modeling of polymer networks using statistical mechanics in Physical Review E. This work is the first to accomplish a general derivation that starts from arbitrary non-interacting single-chain behaviors and ends in the Cauchy stress. It highlights the naturally-occurring statistical correspondences that have been traditionally ignored, and investigates their effects on the macroscopic mechanical response of the network. Our approach here is vital for future constitutive model development.


Q-Exam Success

Congratulations to Hongyi Cai, Phd candidate in Materials Science and Engineering for passing his qualifying exam last week!

Congratulations to Joy for Passing Her A-Exam!

Congratulations to Joy Zhang, PhD candidate in the Materials Science and Engineering field, for passing her A-exam today!


Congratulations to Michael for passing his A-exam!

Congratulations to Micheal Buche, PhD candidate in the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics field, for passing his A-exam yesterday!


Designing Polymers for Strength and Photodegradation

Graphical Abstract

Our new paper on strong yet UV degradable polymers is out in the Journal of the American Chemistry Society. This work was led by PhD candidate Bryce M. Lipinski in the Coates group. He devised a synthesis approach for isotactic poly(propylene oxide) in order to produce a material that demonstrates immense strain hardening. This iPPO not only has a strength matching that of Nylon-6,6, it also can be degraded by UV light, thereby providing a pathway for designing in lifetime and minimizing long term environmental impact. Click here for the Cornell news story.

Metallopolymers work out in Macromolecules

TOC_6_flatFormer postdoc Yuval Vidavsky and current Phd student Michael Buche’s combined experimental and DFT study on metallopolymers is now out in Macromolecules. This work, which was co-advised by Prof Robert DiStasio from Cornell’s chemistry department, introduces the idea of using neutral nitrogen-based ligands to modulate the stiffness, strength, and reversibility of metal-coordination bond-based crosslinks and thereby tailor the overall mechanical properties. Chemistry PhD student Zach Sparrow from DiStasio’s group was critical in establishing the DFT methodology and running analyses.

Two new collaborative publications

Two papers are now available online:

The first, in Chemical Science, led by Stephanie Rosenbloom from Prof Brett Fors’ group is titled “Tailor-made thermoplastic elastomers: customizable materials via modulation of molecular weight distributions”.This is part of our ongoing collaboration with the Fors group on the mechanical properties of tailored polymers.

The second, in Frontiers in Chemistry, led by Dr. Sanaz Farajollahi of the Air Force Research Lab, is titled “Disulfide crosslinked hydrogels made from the Hydra stinging cell protein Minicollagen-1“. This first step into synthetic biology for our group came from Steven Yang’s work at AFRL this past summer.

Goodbye and welcome

Goodbye and good luck to former postdoctoral associate Yuval Vidavsky and newly minted PhD Suwon Bae as they move on to the next phase in their careers.

MAE and MSE PhD student matching are now complete and we are pleased to welcome three new PhD students into the MMD lab: Hongyi Cai, Srikar Srivasta, and Zhongtong Wang. Guess we need a new, new group photo – this one’s from the transition.IMG_0007