Rajmohan Muthaiah is pursuing PhD with focus on thermal transport in polymers. He is using molecular dynamics to study the effect of alignment and functionalization on thermal conductivity of polymer-graphene nanocomposites. Effect of different paramaters such as strain rates, temperature and different functionalization schemes on thermal conductivity enhancement is being investigated. Rajmohan recently demonstrated a shift in peak thermal conductivity to lower temperatures with increasing level of alignment of pure polymers. These results were recently published in Journal of Applied Physics [pdf]. Rajmohan also plans to use first-principles methods to explore thermal transport in III-V semiconductor compounds.
Fatema Tarranum’s PhD research involves experimental studies of thermal conductivity enhancement. She is investigating enhancing thermal conductivity through simultaneous alignment of polymer and embedded graphite nanoplatelets. Fatema prepares composites through micro-compounding, aligns the polymer and nanoplatelets through mechanical strain and measures thermal conductivity through both laser flash and Angstrom method. She is co-author on recent publication in the journal of Nanoscale [pdf]. Fatema further plans to experimentally identify superior functionalization schemes to achieve even higher thermal conductivity values.
Keaton Goad is investigating alternative methods of preparing polymer-graphene composites such as solvent casting to improve dispersion of graphene nanoplatelets.
Joshua Karinshak is using molecular dynamics to study thermal transport in composite materials.
Tiffany Tran is focused on experimental studies of thermal transport in composites.
Tyrus is investigating the role of different parameters such as compounding mixing time, temperature and rotation speed on improving dispersion of nanoplatelets. He is using micro-computer tomography to characterize dispersion.
Morteza Saeidijavash graduated with a Masters in March 2017. His thesis focused on high thermal conductivity aligned polyethylene-graphene nanocomposites. Morteza showed a very large enhancement in thermal conductivity of 1100% using just 6 volume % graphene nanoplatelets. These promising results have been published in the journal of Nanoscale.