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Polymer Composites Group (Kessler Research Team) 2011

Professor Kessler honored with ISU Award for Early Achievement in Research

ISU President Gregory Geoffroy and Professor Michael Kessler at the Iowa State University Convocation Ceremony, Sept. 26, 2011.

Professor Kessler received the ISU Award for Early Achievement in Research.  The purpose of the award is to recognize a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in research and/or creative activity unusually early in his or her professional career.


Ying and Rafael successfully defend PhD dissertations

Congratulations to Ying Xia and Rafael Quirino for successfully passing their Ph.D. defenses on October 11 & 12, respectively.  Ying’s dissertation was titled “Biorenewable polymeric materials from vegetable oils” and Rafael’s dissertation was “Natural oil-based composites reinforced with natural fillers, and conjugation/isomerization of carbon-carbon double bonds.”

 Malika Jeffries-EL, Mike Kessler, Ying Xia, and Rich Larock  Mike Kessler, Rafael Quirino, and Rich Larock
Graduation Ceremony: Drs. Rafael Quirino, Mike Kessler, and Ying Xia

Tim Mauldin passes his PhD defense

Congratulations to Tim for completing his Ph.D. dissertation and successfully passing his Ph.D. defense on Sept. 21, 2011.  His dissertation, titled “Self-healing polymers – the importance of choosing an adequate healing monomer, and the olefin metathesis polymerization of agricultural oils,” is the result of five years of hard work and innovation.

Prof. Kessler interviewed on ScienceLives

The NSF/Live Science website features Professor Kessler and his group’s work with biorenewable plastics and self-healing composites.  It also includes an interview with Professor Kessler with responses to questions such as:

  • What inspired you to choose this field of study?
  • What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
  • What was your first scientific experiment as a child?
  • What is your favorite thing about being a researcher?
  • What is the most important characteristic a researcher must demonstrate in order to be an effective researcher?

See the whole interview at the following URL.

NATAS conference update


The North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS) Annual Conference in Des Moines was a big success this week.  There were over 200 papers and attendees at the conference, including 22 from the PolyComp research group.  The conference proceedings, abstracts, and full papers are available at the following URL:

Congratulations to Mitch Rock, Tim Mauldin, and Peter Hondred for their awards at the conference.

NATAS 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 7-10

Professor Michael Kessler and Dr. Prashanth Badrinarayanan will host the 39th North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS) Annual Conference as the Conference Chair and the Technical Program Chair, respectively.  The technical conference, Aug. 7-10, and the proceeding short course, Aug. 5-7, will be held at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott.  Over 200 technical papers have been submitted for the conference.  More information is available at the conference website:

Congratulations to poster contest winners!

Three graduate students in the Polymer Composites Research Group swept the awards in the recent Materials Science and Engineering/Industrial Advisory Board sponsored Poster Competition.  The winners were:

  • 1st place, Hongyu Cui, “Improving the interfacial properties of glass fiber reinforced bio-renewable resin with silane coupling agents”
  • 2nd place, Keke Chen, “Carbon fibers from bio-renewable lignin”
  • 3rd place, Rui Ding, “ROMP Thermosets from Modified Castor Oil with Various Cross-linking Agents”

Photo credit: Xia Sheng’s blog.

Welcome to our new summer student interns and scholars!

We have several summer student interns and scholars joining our research group through various campus research programs.

Mark Rogalski – Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program, Iowa State University.

WonJong Yu – Community College Institute of Science and Computing (CCI) program, Red Rock Community College.

Zach Rueger – Wind Energy Science, Engineering, and Policy (WESEP) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), Iowa State University.

Eli Levine – Young Engineers and Scientists (YES) Program, CBiRC pre-college education program, Marshalltown High School.

Brad Hurst – Research Experiences for High School Teachers (RET) at CBiRC, Johnston High School.

Josh Heyer– Research Experiences for High School Teachers (RET) at CBiRC, Johnston High School.