Wednesday, October 25, 2017
4:00 pm
Spalding Laboratory 106 (Hartley Memorial Seminar Room) – Eudora Hull Spalding Laboratory of Engineering

Materials Science Research Lecture

Molecular Design Strategies for Functional Soft Materials
Maxwell Robb, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Caltech

Abstract: The convergence of synthetic organic and polymer chemistry enables opportunities to create materials with unprecedented function.  This seminar will explore the use of molecular design strategies to develop soft materials with exciting properties for applications ranging from sensing to self-healing.  In particular, the use of mechanical force as a stimulus to achieve productive chemical transformations in polymers and polymeric materials is the focus of an emerging research genre termed polymer mechanochemistry.  Recent advances in the field including the discovery of a mechanically-facilitated retro-Staudinger cycloaddition to produce reactive ketene species and the development of a new mechanochromic force probe for stress sensing in polymeric materials will be discussed as well as new insights into fundamental mechanochemical processes.  A closely related topic will address the translation of simple chemical concepts to create a technological platform for visual damage detection in engineering materials.

Bio: Max Robb was born and raised in Colorado and obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from the Colorado School of Mines.  After graduating in 2009, Max carried out his Ph.D. studies in the laboratories of Prof. Craig J. Hawker at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His doctoral research focused broadly on the synthesis of functional organic materials and was recognized by the American Chemical Society with the 2016 Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry.  Beginning in the fall of 2014, Max pursued postdoctoral work with Prof. Jeffrey S. Moore at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign as a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow.  In September 2017, Max returned to California to begin his independent career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the CCE Division at Caltech.  His current research interests include developing a better understanding of mechanical force transduction at the molecular level and leveraging molecular design strategies to achieve new functional materials.

Refreshments served at 3:30pm in the Spalding Laboratory Lobby.

Contact Jennifer Blankenship jennifer@caltech.edu at 626-395-8124
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