This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

eMaterials Vol. 2, Iss. 17:

In This Issue
  Director's Message
  MRI Faculty Spotlight
  MRI Advisory Board
  Contracts & Grants
  Nanofab Facility
  Materials Seminars
  Funding Opps

eMaterials Home

Subscribe to eMaterials

Did You Know?:

Annual materials-related research expenditures at Penn State exceed $70 million.

MRI Faculty Spotlight:

Evangelos Manias speaks enthusiastically about his diverse research interests in polymeric materials. In the four years that he has been at Penn State, Manias' research group has grown to include 5 post docs and 8 graduate students. A large portion of his effort is focused on polymer-inorganic nanocomposites. Manias (Virginia S. and Philip L. Walker Jr. Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering) is at the forefront of one of the newest commercially viable nanomaterials. Read more...

Faculty Spotlight Home

Upcoming Materials Seminars:

November 21, 11:15 AM
22 Deike Bldg
To be announced
En Ma, Professor of MATSE, John Hopkins University

December 5, 11:15 AM
22 Deike Bldg
Combinations of Functionality and Topology in Macromolecular Design
Tim Long, Associate Professor of Polymer Chemistry, Virginia Tech

December 10, 11:15 AM
108 Wartik Laboratory
Cells, Gels, and Tissue Engineering
Dr. Kristi S. Anseth, University of Colorado

December 12, 11:15 AM
22 Deike Bldg
High-Cycle Fatigue of Polycrystalline Silicon: The Role of the Silica/Silicon Interface
Chris Muhlstein, Asst. Professor of MATSE, PSU

Materials Seminars Home.

Quick Links:

Home
Back
Penn State
Contact Webmaster

MRI Faculty Spotlight on Evangelos Manias

Evangelos Manias speaks enthusiastically about his diverse research interests in polymeric materials. In the four years that he has been at Penn State, Manias' research group has grown to include 5 post docs and 8 graduate students. A large portion of his effort is focused on polymer-inorganic nanocomposites. Manias (Virginia S. and Philip L. Walker Jr. Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering) is at the forefront of one of the newest commercially viable nanomaterials. The inorganics in question are layered silicates (clays or synthetic ceramics) that he disperses into traditional polymers in relatively small volume fractions. With proper control over the chemistry and processing, the inexpensive fillers can transform the polymers into composite materials with highly improved physical properties. The key to nanocomposites is the ability to either partially or completely separate the individual clay sheets (intercalate or exfoliate) and make them miscible in polymers such as PP, PET, PUU and PVA. The image below shows a TEM micrograph of polypropylene containing 6wt% silicate in intercalated (A), disordered (B), and exfoliated (C) dispersions.

Some of the properties that his group have been able to improve dramatically include: gas barrier/diffusivity, strength and flame retardancy. Not surprisingly his research has caught the attention of industry with companies such as Coca Cola, United Technologies, Sumitomo Chemicals, Kulicke & Soffa, and Air Products sponsoring his research. He also maintains federal funding for the more fundamental-science research on nanocomposites, as model systems for nanoscopically confined polymers.

Another area of Prof. Manias' research involves studying nanoscale polymer mechanics using atomic force microscopy with a magnetically levitated tip. In traditional cantilever-tipped AFMs the spring constant of the tip is fixed. Using a tip mounted on a SmCo magnet allows him to tune the effective stiffness of the tip to probe areas of differing elastic modulus in the same sample. This research has applications in MEMS, nanocomposite characterization, and polymer crystallization, to name a few.

Lately he has turned his attention in yet another direction. He has synthesized a new class of water soluble polymers that change solubility in response to very small temperature changes.[J. Polym. Sci: Part B 40 (2002), 2339] These so called Lower Critical Solution Temperature (LCST) polymers are composed of monomers that contain hydrophobic (ethylene) and hydrophilic (ethylene oxide) parts. By controlling the relative amounts of ethylene and ethylene oxide in the monomer, Manias' group was able to produce polymers that undergo an LCST first-order transition between 10-75C. He envisions applications in microfluidics where a laser or other external heat source will be applied to these polymer solutions to open and close tiny valves, or decorate the walls of narrow channels with these polymers thus enabling control of their cross-section by small changes in the fluid temperature. Since the temperatures include the range where all living organisms thrive, applications in drug delivery or sensors can be envisioned.

Anyone interested in learning more about Professor Manias is encourage to contact him directly at 863-2980 or manias@psu.edu. His personal webpage is http://zeus.plmsc.psu.edu/.