|| Michael C. Williams,
524 Chemical and Materials Engineering Building
Research Areas: Composite Materials, Fluid Mechanics, Mechanical Properties, Polymers, Rheology
DR WILLIAMS' academic research over the past 29 years (24.5 yrs at the University of California, Berkeley) has been directed primarily toward the general fields of rheology and polymers and has led to over 150 research publications. Primary focus has been on polymer rheology--non-Newtonian and viscoelastic liquid models (continuum and molecular) and property measurements on solutions, melts, and gels. Fluid mechanics problems relevant to polymer melt processing have also been addressed. Other important fluids studied rheologically have been blood, coal suspensions, and fluidized beds. A major effort has involved block copolymers, initially directed toward the thermodynamics of their microphase separation transitions and microstructure development and then moving on toward their rheology. Additional research has involved biomaterials (polymers) in connection with blood compatibility, the use of polymer additives in airplane fuel to promote fire safety, the deposition of aerosol coatings on crop leaves to retard transpiration water loss, modelling the flow of sickle erythrocytes in capillaries, the chemistry (including polymerization) of hydrocarbon gas plasmas in wire chambers, and the properties of multiphase polymer blends. Two new research ventures have emerged here in the past 2-3 years. One is centered in the area of polymer composites, with focus being specifically on long-fibre reinforcement (glass, or carbon) and improvements in fibre/polymer bonding. The second new area is directed at polyethylene (PE) and the properties that arise when different forms of PE are blended together.
Currently our laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art rheological instrument (Rheometrics Mechanical Spectrometer 800) for comprehensive measurements on liquids. This is used for a broad spectrum of rheological measurements. A Brabender Prep Centre is in place, equipped with a 3/4 inch extruder and a mixing head for liquid-state blending. A wide range of thermal properties (glass transition and crystallization behaviour; phase separation of block copolymers and polymer blends) can be studied with our top-of-the-line differential scanning calorimeter. Electron microscopy of several types is also being used to characterize multiphase polymer systems. Among specific projects are: