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NSF Award from the Division of Materials Research

Collaborative Research PREM: City College-Chicago MRSEC Partnership on the Dynamics of Heterogeneous and Particulate Materials

  • Principal Investigator: Sidney Nagel, PhD, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Physics, James Franck Institute, and the College
  • Start Date: September 1, 2009
  • Total Award Amount: $350,000

Project Description

The Partnership in Research and Education in Materials (PREM) at the City College of New York (CCNY) involves a collaboration with the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at the University of Chicago. The PREM has two broad goals: to provide the highest quality research and education opportunities in material dynamics; and to use CCNY's diverse and high-quality student body and research university status to drive permanent added participation of under-represented groups in materials science. The overarching goal of the research is to develop methodology for description of material dynamics. This work has potential for major impact in many fields.

The CCNY-Chicago PREM combines strengths of CCNY in simulation and modeling with the Chicago expertise in experiments and theory to develop design principles for next-generation materials. The research focuses on the dynamics of two key areas, namely heterogeneous and particulate systems, in which the role of the dynamics in making new material will be explored. The team will investigate the following topics: 1) dynamics of droplets during impact, 2) novel assembly techniques using micron sized particles and bio-molecules, and 3) assemblies of colloidal and granular particles. The material formation processes in these systems are far from equilibrium, and for these conditions there is a need for numerical simulation techniques to provide insight to the phenomena occurring at the small scales (e.g. of the particles), and their relation to the overall mixture or system behavior. Such simulation results support development of models useful for engineering of materials synthesis processes.

Developing the human resource base in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is vital to the mission of the PREM. The partnership will use the excitement intrinsic to the discovery process to recruit and train talented students at the high school, undergraduate and graduate, as well as post-doctoral levels. This will establish CCNY as a leader not only in the dynamics of heterogeneous and particulate systems, but also in the development of under-represented talent in STEM. To aid in accomplishing its goals, this partnership will seek guidance from an advisory committee with broad representation, including a high school principal, as well as academic and industrial leaders.

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, NSF Award number: 0934192