Subramanian (Rama) Ramakrishnan
Synthetic and natural polymers may self-assemble in a number of different morphologies and at all levels of length scales. We investigate the interrelation between molecular structure, the levels of aggregation and functionality of polymers, blends and composites. In crystalline polymers we aim to predict physical properties through an understanding of parameters governing the phase transition and the path towards macromolecular order. The properties hinge strongly on the balance between crystalline and amorphous components, and characterizing the distribution and orientation of these coexisting phases in the polymer requires coupling multiple experimental techniques and modeling. Composites and nanocomposites are fast growing areas to explore new structure-property relationships and develop novel manufacturing technologies for today and future products and industries. We study design, fabrication, health monitoring and quality control technologies of advanced composites. Intensive research on carbon nanotube, buckypaper and their nanocomposites is ongoing to investigate and develop the next generation of high-performance and multifunctional composites for key application fields, including defense, renewable energy, medical devices and new construction materials. Advancements of nanofoam and nanostructured reinforcement fiber research reveal new insights of constituent materials. Multiscale modeling study is to provide fundamental understandings of novel actuation and smart materials. The research group has state-of-the-art and comprehensive facilities for crystalline polymers and nanocomposite research.