That sums up the goal of Advanced Materials research in the Chemical Engineering Department at Northeastern. By taking a fundamental approach, researchers can discover new ways of solving important applied problems. One way of looking at this is through the Structure-Properties-Processing relationship.
An understanding of the structure-property relationship can give insight into which processing steps yield the desired results. Similarly, observing the structure that results from a given set of processing conditions may reveal how to change a material’s properties.
At a basic level, this can mean manipulating matter at an atomic or molecular level to build micro and nanostructured materials with new and interesting properties, previously unattainable by any other means.
It can also mean engineering coatings and surfaces to enhance or improve existing materials, or provide an added functionality, such as chemical resistance, biocompatibility, or radiation hardness.
It means synthesizing or modifying materials that make our lives better – from improved catalysts for more efficient chemical reactions, to molecularly engineered electronics that require less power to run, to fuel cells that outperform today’s best batteries.
Increasingly, it means working at the interface between biological and physical systems – marrying nature’s ability to engineer biology for specific purposes with the engineer’s ability to modify physical materials, creating new, hybrid systems that take advantage of the best of both worlds.
To learn more about what specific advanced materials research is going on in the department, click on the faculty names below.
Advanced Materials Research at Northeastern. The Future of Chemical Engineering Starts Here.
Dr. Laura H. Lewis
…Current research is devoted to understanding magnetostructural transitions, which comprise simultaneous magnetic and structural phase changes. These transitions are attracting new attention due to the recognition that they underlie an assortment of “extreme” phenomena with important technological implications…
Dr. Shashi Murthy
Associate Professor & Acting Chair
Dr. Murthy’s research areas include microfluidic cell separation, nanoscale probes for cell stimulation, and biopassive/bioactive coatings for neurological implants.
Dr. Elizabeth Podlaha-Murphy
…Our group aims to understand, discover, and develop novel electrodeposited nanomaterials. Current projects include electrodeposited, multilayered nanowires and nanotubes, nanostructured metal matrix composites, and magnetic nanoparticles. These materials find potential uses in electronic, solar, and detection applications. Challenges of research interest focus on the nanomanufacturing aspect, compositional control, and kinetic-transport interrelationships.
Dr. Ronald J.Willey
Prof. Willey has had the capability to synthesize single and mixed oxide aerogels materials. He has done over 600 formulations, many of which contain iron oxide or titanium dioxide. The formulations have been complete by either high temperature supercritical drying (methanol as the solvent) or low temperature supercritical drying (carbon dioxide as the solvent).
Dr. Katherine S. Ziemer
Dr. Ziemer’s research involves engineering surfaces in order to integrate wide bandgap semiconductors with functional and multi-functional oxides, organic molecules, and/or biomaterials.
Dr. Eric J.Thorgerson
Visiting Professor and Practitioner-in-Residence