The University of Massachusetts Amherst


UMass Amherst’s Reika Katsumata, assistant professor of polymer science and engineering, is one of 58 researchers to receive grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

Katsumata has received a three-year, $450,000 YIP Award from AFOSR to support her project, “Confinement Effects on Polymer Degradation in Nanocomposites.”

Nanocomposite materials are commonly used in microelectronics and aerospace engineering. Thermal stability of these materials is crucial for reliability at high temperatures and in harsh conditions. 

Polymers limit nanocomposite effectiveness due to their low decomposition temperatures. These polymers are confined by fillers that can alter the degradation mechanism, so-called nanoconfinement effects, which are highly complex and not fully understood. 

Katsumata’s project aims to uncover the effects of nanoconfinement on the thermal degradation of polymers in nanocomposites, focusing on thermodynamics and kinetics contributions.  

Ultimately, Katsumata’s project will contribute to developing hybrid materials with excellent thermal resistivity for aerospace applications.  

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