HIGH-LEVEL RESEARCHER ON TEACHING INTRODUCTORY CLASSES

Arthi Jayaraman, a UD associate professor, points toward the board while discussing the material with students in her Introduction to Chemical Engineering class

UD Engineering’s Arthi Jayaraman explains her approach

Arthi Jayaraman wears many hats. She is a tenured associate professor at the University of Delaware. She teaches one class each semester and serves as the graduate program director for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. In this role, she works closely with coordinator Kathleen Young to help students navigate through the graduate process. On top of that, she does her own research, regularly travels to present at conferences and personally advises about nine students of varying degree levels. And she has a puppy named Barnaby that she adores.

For her research, Jayaraman’s team designs polymers to advance or discover various materials. This means she makes simulation models on the computer to test and design the properties of potential new products. Car tires, bumpers and creating genes to fix damaged DNA are examples of projects she may work on developing. Once a model is ready, she shares her findings with experimental collaborators who develop the physical product.

While Jayaraman does high-level research, she also teaches students the basics. She was the co-teacher of Introduction to Chemical Engineering with Joshua Enszer during the spring semester. Knowing the basics is fundamental to her current work, but teaching the subject to first-year students presents a challenge beyond the material itself. “A lot of time is spent deciding how best to present the material,” Jayaraman said. “Because there are different students of different backgrounds and different skill sets, so communicating that same material the correct way is where most of my time goes.”

Jayarman recognizes that each group of students presents a new teaching challenge and she tries to adapt her lesson to meet their needs

During one of her Tuesday afternoon classes in the spring, Jayaraman recapped the previous week’s lesson on rate determination. She walked around the room while lecturing and tried to make the environment more intimate, given there were 140 students in the class. She pulled up a problem on the projector and challenged the students to solve it. “I’d like to hear from some of you,” Jayaraman said to the class. “What was your initial process?” As the students worked on the problem, both professors and the teaching assistants walked around the room to give class members a few minutes of one-on-one attention. This is a big part of her philosophy for teaching this course.

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THOMAS EPPS ELECTED AS FELLOW INTO RSC

Thomas H. Epps, III elected as a Fellow into the Royal Society of Chemistry

Thomas H Epps, III, the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Senior Career Development Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Delaware and Director for the Center for Molecular & Engineering Thermodynamics (CMET), has been admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), a UK-based professional society with worldwide membership. The Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) designation is given to elected fellows who have made significant contributions to the chemical sciences.

“It is a great honor to be appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry,” says Epps. “Several of my colleagues at UD are Fellows of the RSC, along with other people who I admire in the polymers community in the United States and abroad. It is a great privilege to become a part of this esteemed group in chemistry. I am extremely grateful to all of my students, postdocs, and collaborators who have contributed to my activities.”

To learn more about Epps’s research, click here. For more information about the RSC, visit their official site.

REEBOK LAUNCHES SHAPE-SHIFTING, SPACE INSPIRED BRA

Sportswear giant Reebok has launched a new premium sports bra which integrates Shear Thickening Fluid, a gel-like solution developed by engineers at the University of Delaware that solidifies when in motion to offer enhanced support. View T.Evo article…

Reebok’s PureMove bra weaves in the viscous fluid that is said to have no effect on the look or feel of the fabric. The technologically-enhanced fabric adapts to body shape and movement to offer necessary support depending on the intensity of an activity. The creation of the bra was spearheaded by Danielle Witek, a Reebok designer, who stumbled upon the technology while thumbing through a science journal (something she does for fun). In 2005, chemical engineers at the University of Delaware had invented a new substance called Shear Thickening Fluid, a gel-like solution that takes liquid form when in a still or slow-moving state, and stiffens into a solid when moving at high velocities. It was originally designed to be a modern form of armor technology, since you can incorporate it into a protective garment to defend the wearer from items flying at their body at a high speed–it’s since been used in everything from Kelvar bulletproof vests to NASA spacesuits that protect astronauts from shrapnel.

As Witek read about this amazing fluid, she had her “aha” moment. What if she could incorporate it into a sports bra to provide control and compression when the wearer is in motion, but lighter support when the wearer is still? She reached out to the scientists, beginning the three-year journey that led to Reebok’s PureMove bra…Since this technology is so new, Reebok had to do a lot of testing to make sure the bra would actually do what it advertised. The company set up a breast biomechanics testing center with the help of the University of Delaware, with 54 separate motion sensors tracking and measuring various parts of a tester’s chest area. This is a far more rigorous approach than most testing facilities in the industry that typically only use between two to four sensors. Over the course of a year, the facility gathered the data required for the scientists and Reebok product designers to develop the PureMove bra. View Prosyscom Tech News article…

View American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) First Bell article and Delaware Business Now article

NEW PROCESS TURNS WOOD SCRAPS INTO TAPE

UD engineers convert commonly discarded material into high-performance adhesive

Different tape has different ingredients in the adhesive and different strengths.

Whether you’re wrapping a gift or bandaging a wound, you rely on an adhesive to get the job done. These sticky substances often are made from petroleum-derived materials, but what if there was a more sustainable way to make them? Now, a team of engineers at the University of Delaware has developed a novel process to make tape out of a major component of trees and plants called lignin—a substance that paper manufacturers typically throw away. What’s more, their invention performs just as well as at least two commercially available products. The researchers recently described their results in ACS Central Science, and they are working on more ways to upcycle scrap wood and plants into “designer materials” for consumer use.

Sticky science

Lignin is a renewable resource, a substance in trees that helps to make them strong. But you do not have to cut down trees to get it, because there’s plenty lying around. When pulp and paper manufacturers process wood, the lignin is left behind and usually discarded in landfills or burned for heat. Some companies are even willing to deliver a free dump truck full of the stuff because that is cheaper than disposing of it in a landfill. An inexpensive, plentiful and sustainable material, lignin presents a prime opportunity for some scientifically advanced upcycling. Lignin is also a natural polymer, a material made of very large molecules composed of smaller subunits called monomers. Lignin shares some structural and materials property similarities with petroleum-derived polymers, such as polystyrene and polymethyl methacrylate, which are commonly used in adhesives and other consumer products, from packaging materials to cups.

“One of the thoughts that we have always had is: Can we take lignin and make useful products, and in this case, useful polymers out of it?” said Thomas H. Epps, III, the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at UD, and the corresponding author of the new paper. In particular, Epps suspected that lignin could be used to make adhesives with similar strength, toughness, and scratch resistance to the petroleum-based versions. Read UDaily Article…

UD’s Epps Named American Physical Society Fellow

Thomas H. Epps, III was named an American Physical Society Fellow

Chemical engineering and materials science professor joins the top 0.5 percent of society members

Thomas H. Epps, III, the Thomas & Kipp Gutshall Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware, has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). No more than one-half of one percent of APS members are elected to Fellow Status. Fellows have made significant contributions to the field of physics through research, applications, teaching, or participation in society activities. “It is a great honor to be elected as an APS Fellow,” said Epps. ”Several of my colleagues at UD are APS Fellows, along with many people who I admire in the polymer physics community. It is a great privilege to become a part of this esteemed group in physics. I am extremely grateful to all of my students, postdocs, and collaborators who have contributed to my activities.” Darrin Pochan, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Eric Furst, chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, nominated Epps for this honor. “Prof. Epps’ accomplishments in the research and engineering of block-copolymers and his service and leadership in the American Physical Society forum make him exceptionally qualified for this honor,” said Furst. “He is an extraordinary researcher and educator whose work has had a major impact on macromolecular and soft matter science and engineering.”

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