End-Associative Polymers: Synthesis, Physics and Fire-Safer Fuel (Julia Kornfield - Caltech)


End-Associative Polymers: Synthesis, Physics and Fire-Safer Fuel

Prof. Julia A. Kornfield

California Institute of Technology


Polymer physics enables rational molecular design to simultaneously meet multiple performance criteria. A case in point is the development of polymers to reduce the risks inherent to aviation fuel. Fuel has a high energy density and that energy can be released very rapidly when it is dispersed into a fine mist and then ignited. While this behavior is highly desirable in an engine, it can be catastrophic when it occurs during a survivable crash or when an aircraft is used as a weapon. This decades-old challenge has been addressed through collaboration between JPL and Caltech. We have applied statistical mechanics to design polymers that associate in a precisely controlled manner, developed synthetic methods to realize the theoretical polymers and used rheological measurements and engineering tests to develop a mist control additive. It satisfies the multiplicity of requirements: in addition to being effective, it must work at low concentration, resist shear degradation, retain efficacy over a wide temperature range, be compatible with existing engines, burn cleanly and have low cost. Molecular design that is informed by polymer physics and chemical engineering opened the way to a new fuel additive that inhibits unintended combustion when fuel is dispersed due to impact

Speaker Background

The goal of the Kornfield group's research is to understand on a molecular level a broad range of macroscopic properties of polymers. Owing to the tremendous diversity of their physical properties, polymeric materials find applications ranging from the most common to the most exotic products in the forms of fibers, plastics, elastomers, adhesives, and coatings. Inevitably, the final properties of the material depend not only on the chemical constitution of the polymer, but also on its physical structure. In our group we explore general aspects of the latter, relating the macromolecular structure and dynamics to the macroscopic properties.


Wedesday, January 22


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park

Mountain View, CA





6 PM social hour

7 PM dinner

8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration - Up to 7 days in advance of deadline $30 $15
Registration - Up to deadline $35 $20
After deadline/walk-in (Availability NOT guaranteed) $40 $25


Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register on the web page or contact:

Len Radzilowski


phone: 650-361-3264

Deadline for registration:

5PM, Tuesday, January 14 for early registration discount

5PM, Tuesday, January 21 for registration (or until venue has reached capacity.)

Dinner Selection:

Baked Sea bass
Chicken Marsala
Vegetable Brochette

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.