University of Virgina
Please explain your research in simple words
I study a way to make graphene (a single layer of atoms from your pencil lead) by mixing it at high speeds in liquids. I am interested in how the liquid's properties affect how much graphene I can make and the quality of the graphene. This can be used to add graphene to improve other materials, as "inks" for 3D printing, or special coatings.
Monday - intro
Tuesday - colloids and mixtures
Wednesday - rheology and "squishy materials"
Thursday - characterizing my materials
Friday - tba
What can the followers expect in your curation week?
How did you end up in your current research field?
I went to college thinking I wanted to study astronomy, but ended up really interested in materials research after a chemistry seminar and taking some introductory engineering courses. I ended up working in a chemistry lab and doing two internships researching carbon nanotubes, cementing my love of nanomaterials.
I study ways to make nanoparticles (primarily graphene, but have helped with work on metal nanoparticles) and how they behave in dispersions, so my work falls into inorganic nanomaterials, colloid and interface science, and rheology.
How and where does your research fall in the domain of materials/nano science?
Which research project are you most proud of and could you explain it in simple words in the section we call #InOtherwords?
I'm most proud of my work on graphene production.
I used powerful blenders to break up pencil lead in different liquids to make a strong material. I wanted to see if thicker liquids (something more like syrup than water) could make more of this material by applying more stress to the pencil lead, and it turns out they can!
More autonomy for graduate students, more support for interdisciplinary research, standards for reporting on materials research
If you had 3 wishes to improve your research experience, what would you ask for (not promising anything here!)?
What are you most looking forward to in the next 3 months?
I just defended my dissertation, so I am excited to graduate in December and hear back about job applications.
I think a major challenge in carbon nanomaterials is moving from lab research to large-scale manufacturing. A big concern as companies try making products with carbon nanotubes or graphene is that it is very difficult to make large amounts that have consistent properties, and even dedicated companies have a problem scaling up processes.