Parachute cords, climbing ropes, and smart coatings for bridges that change color when overstressed are several possible uses for force-sensitive polymers being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois.
Paul V. Braun
Professor Braun received his BS degree, with distinction, from Cornell University, and his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UIUC in 1998. Following a one year post-doctoral appointment at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, he joined the faculty at UIUC in 1999 as an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and a part-time faculty member of the Beckman Institute. He is the recipient of a Beckman Young Investigator Award (2001); 3M Nontenured Faculty Award (2001); Robert Lansing Hardy Award from TMS (2002), and Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2010). From the UIUC College of Engineering, he has received the Willett Faculty Scholar Award (2002), Xerox Award for Faculty Research (2004), and Stanley H. Pierce Faculty Award (2010). He was named a University Scholar by the University of Illinois (2006).
- energy storage; polymers; self-assembly; electronic materials; photonics
Our research program covers a wide range of materials science disciplines, with a general focus on the formation and study of nano and microstructures through self and directed assembly. The Braun group focuses on new functional materials for energy storage and solar energy harvesting, in particular on the synthesis of materials with carefully crafted 3D nano- and mesoscale architectures which lead to emergence of new optical, electrochemical, and thermal functionalities. The group also has considerable research interests in self-healing materials and materials for chemical sensing.
Distinctions / Awards
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2010)
- Stanley H. Pierce Faculty Award, College of Engineering, UIUC (2010)
- Named on List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students (2009)
- Xerox Award for Faculty Research, College of Engineering, UIUC (2009)
- Plenary Lecturer, Composites at Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta, Canada (2009)
- Accenture Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising (2007)
- Accenture Multi-year Faculty Achievement Award, College of Engineering, UIUC (2007)
In The News
Dr. Paul Braun of Chemistry has been featured in an article in C&E News regarding his research into self-healing coatings. To read more on this exciting new discovery, please see the C&E article here.
Imagine tiny cracks in your patio table healing by themselves, or the first small scratch on your new car disappearing by itself. This and more may be possible with self-healing coatings being developed at the University of Illinois.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer