PROPOSAL NO.: CTS-0448270 PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: YONG JOO INSTITUTION: CORNELL UNIVERSITY
CAREER: NANOFIBER FORMATION DIRECTLY BY POLYMER MELTS: A SOLVENT-FREE APPROACH
Formation of nanofibers from electrically-charged polymer melts remains a subject of great importance in polymer processing and fluid mechanics. This grant will establish an integrated research and teaching infrastructure that will allow development of procedures to control fiber formation on the nanoscale. Complete numerical simulation studies of electrically-charged polymer melts in electrospinning will be performed. Comparative experiments, including flow visualization, will be carried out to provide a quantitative test of the theoretical predictions. Progress in nanofiber formation will make an important contribution to polymer rheology and processing. In particular, this solvent-free approach for nanofibers directly from melts will overcome current barriers to commercializing electrospinning, such as high process cost and low production rate. Simulations that incorporate electrically-driven flows, crystallization, flow stability in a single tool can provide a platform for guiding design of nanofibers of advanced materials that are finding uses in filtration, protective clothing and biomedical applications. The PI will develop a short course on ethics of scientific research, and incorporate bio-transport and bioseparations into the curriculum. The grant will enable research experiences for middle and high school teachers and will help them to develop modules on fiber science, provide research experiences to urban high school, and provide research experiences for Cornell undergraduate students. The education and outreach plan leverages existing successful programs at Cornell that have several important goals: providing research experience for students from underrepresented group, as well as for teachers, and developing the aforementioned demonstration modules for use by K-12 students and teachers.