The 37th Annual ChEGSA Symposium will be held on October 22nd and 23rd, 2015.

The annual ChEGSA research symposium started in 1979 with the hopes of showcasing the work of our graduate researchers, promoting intra-departmental research collaborations and connecting our students to industry. Today we continue these traditions, with the hopes of improving every year. This two-day event features graduate research presentations, a poster session, and a corporate-sponsored keynote address given by a distinguished professor from the field of chemical engineering. For a complete overview of the event, please see this year’s proceedings.

The Dow Chemical Company Keynote Address

The Micromechanics of Shear Thickening Fluids and Their Applications as Field-responsive Protective Materials and Shielding for Spacecraft and Astronauts

Norman J. Wagner

Dr. Norman J. Wagner

Robert L. Pigford Chair of Chemical Engineering
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Delaware
STF Technologies LLC

Keynote Abstract

Shear thickening colloidal and/or nanoparticle suspensions are commonly encountered in chemical and materials processing, and are also the basis of a technology platform for advanced, field responsive nanocomposites. In this presentation, I will review some of the experimental methods and key results concerning the micromechanics of colloidal suspension rheology. Micromechanics is the ability to predict the properties of complex systems from a colloidal or microscopic level description of the structure and forces. A fundamental understanding of colloidal suspension rheology and in particular, shear thickening, has been achieved through a combination of model system synthesis, rheological, rheo-optical and rheo-small angle neutron scattering (SANS) measurements, as well as simulation and theory (Colloidal Suspension Rheology Mewis and Wagner, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2012).

Shear thickening fluids (STFs) are novel field-responsive materials that can be engineered to be useful nanocomposites for enhanced ballistic and impact protection, puncture resistant medical gloves, energy absorbing materials for mitigating impacts and concussions, as well as in systems for mitigating micrometeoroid and orbital debris threats in space applications. The development of commercial applications of STFs will be discussed. The rheological investigations and micromechanical modeling serve as a framework for the rational design of STF-based materials to meet specific performance requirements not easily achieved with more conventional materials (Phys. Today, Oct. 2009, p. 27-32). I will illustrate some technological applications of STFs under commercial development.

About the Speaker

Professor Norman J. Wagner is a distinguished researcher in the fields of rheology, complex fluids, and polymers. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon in 1984 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1988. He was a NATO/NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Germany and a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Lab prior to joining the University of Delaware in 1991.

Professor Wagner’s research focuses on the effects of applied flow on the microstructure and material properties of colloidal suspensions, polymers, self-assembled surfactant solutions, and combinations thereof. He is a recently-elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, was awarded the Bingham Medal of the Society of Rheology in 2014, and was awarded the Siple Award in 2002 by the US Army for his development of shear thickening fluids for novel energy-absorbing materials. We are delighted to welcome him back to Carnegie Mellon for the 2015 ChEGSA Symposium!