October, 2013
UMass Amherst Polymer Scientists are Pioneering Wearable Biosensors for Personalized Health Care

AMHERST, Mass. – Chances are good that when medical device manufacturers offer a wearable biosensing patch that will allow a nurse to monitor a patient’s blood sugar or insulin level remotely, for example, it was designed and the prototype built by polymer scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by Jim Watkins.
Read full article at: UMass Amherst News Office

October, 2013
Polymer Scientists Jam Nanoparticles, Trapping Liquids into Useful Shapes

AMHERST, Mass. – Sharp observation by doctoral student Mengmeng Cui in Thomas Russell’s polymer science and engineering laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently led her to discover how to kinetically trap and control one liquid within another, locking and separating them in a stable system over long periods, with the ability to tailor and manipulate the shapes and flow characteristics of each.
Read full article at: UMass Amherst News Office

July, 2013
How advanced plastics saved lives on Asiana Flight 214

Flight attendants and first responders are receiving very well deserved praise for their fast and brave work to rapidly evacuate passengers from Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport on aturday.

It's possible that investigators will want to add praise in another area as well -- the regulators and engineers who have transformed aircraft interiors from flaming and smoky tinderboxes to cabins that are much slower-burning and significantly less toxic.
The result in the case of the Asiana Boeing 777 was enough time to evacuate all of the passengers.

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January, 2013
CNN Money names Geckskin a top science breakthrough for 2012

Geckskin, a super-strong adhesive device developed by campus researchers that can hold 700 pounds on a smooth wall, has been named one of the top five science breakthroughs of 2012 by CNN Money.

Inspired by the footpads of geckos, Geckskin was created by Michael Bartlett, a doctoral candidate in Polymer Science and Engineering, polymer scientist Alfred Crosby and biologist Duncan Irschick, who has studied the gecko’s climbing and clinging abilities for more than 20 years. The researchers published their findings in the journal Advanced Materials last February.

November, 2012
Research develops ‘second skin’ military fabric to repel chemical and biological agents

Military uniforms of the future may offer a new layer of critical protection to wearers thanks to research by polymer scientists and colleagues at several other institutions who are developing a nanotube-based fabric that repels chemical and biological agents.

Polymer Science professors Kenneth Carter and James Watkins, collaborating with team leader Francesco Fornasiero of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), recently received a five-year $1.8 million grant to design ways to manufacture the new material as part of a $13 million project funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. It’s estimated that the new uniforms could be deployed in the field in less than 10 years.

August, 2012
Researchers win $2 million NSF grant to develop self-folding polymer sheets for new materials

A group of scientists and mathematicians led by physicist Christian Santangelo has won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) grant for 2012, one of only 15 given to investigators at 26 institutions and totaling nearly $30 million.

Santangelo and colleagues including polymer scientist Ryan Hayward are experts in developing self-folding polymer sheets, which take advantage of origami principles to provide highly tunable mechanical responses. Their four-year, $2 million grant is part of EFRI’s Origami Design for the Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation (ODISSEI) program for developing new mechanical meta-materials.

July, 2012
Polymer scientist Alejandro Briseño, Kinesiology alumna receive presidential early career awards

President Barack Obama has named polymer scientist Alejandro L. Briseño to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the federal government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

June, 2012
Geckskin Does Some Heavy Lifting!

Geckos provide an innovative model for UMass scientists.

View video at: YouTube

March, 2012
Geckskin team wins $900,000 international grant

Duncan Irschick, Biology, and Al Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, with Walter Federle of Cambridge University, have been awarded a three-year, $900,000 grant from the Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) in Strasbourg, France, to study bioadhesion in geckos and insects.

March, 2012
Shape of Things to Come: Mimicking nature's complex shaping

Inspired by nature's ability to shape a petal, and building on simple techniques used in photolithography and printing, researchers Ryan Hayward of Polymer Science and Engineering, Christian Santangelo of the Physics Department and their colleagues have developed a new tool for manufacturing three-dimensional shapes easily and cheaply, to aid advances in biomedicine, robotics and tunable micro-optics.