Nanocomposites, Carbon Fibers, Carbon Nanotube Enabled Materials, and Bio-renewable Materials


“Nanocomposites, Carbon Fibers, Carbon Nanotube Enabled Materials, and Bio-renewable Materials”

Prof. Satish Kumar
Georgia Institute of Technology
School of Materials Science and Engineering

NOTE - Location is the Crowne Plaza, San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, not Michael's at Shoreline in Mountain View

This presentation will survey recent results from our laboratory in carbon nanotube/polymer composites, novel processing methods, and their properties.

In particular, the interphase plays a vital role in governing the mechanical properties of composites and nanocomposites. We show that by tailoring the interphase between carbon nanotubes and the polymer, isotropic carbon nanotube bucky papers can be prepared with a factor of six increase in modulus compared to bucky papers prepared without tailoring the interphase. In second example, we show that tailoring the interphase increases impact strength of polypropylene by 150% with only 1 wt% multiwall carbon nanotubes.

Recent advances in our lab have also demonstrated greener processing methods with a range of mechanical and thermal properties. As a first example, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) act as a joule heating element when incorporated in a polymer matrix, allowing the material to be heated by a few degrees or by hundreds of degrees C with the application of electric current. This approach is being used to manufacture carbon fibers based on polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/CNT with less energy consumption. Second, carbon fibers are being manufactured using renewable biomaterials such as lignin and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC). A recently discovered method for dispersing CNC will be discussed. Third, gel spinning has been used to produce carbon fibers with a record combination of tensile strength and tensile modulus. For the first time, tensile strength of 12 GPa has been measured for a PAN-based carbon fiber.

Finally, we explore advances in electronic applications. Polyacrylonitrile has been used to make carbon powder with a very high surface area (3000 to 3500 m2/g) using an economic and scalable process. Applications of this powder include supercapacitors, hybrid Li-ion batteries, and capacitive water desalination. Also, highly stable dispersions of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) have been processed for the first time. This method should make it possible to separate single wall SWNTs by their electrical conductivity – an essential step towards fabricating SWNT based electronic devices.

Speaker Background

Prof. Kumar received his Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India and obtained his post-doctoral experience in Polymer Science and Engineering under the tutelage of Professor R. S. Stein (member NAE, NAS) at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He studied the structure of ion containing polymers as a foreign collaborator at the Center of Nuclear Energy Studies in Grenoble, France. During 1984-89, he conducted research on thermosetting and thermoplastic resins, as well as on polymeric and carbon fibers while working in Polymer Branch at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton Ohio. He joined the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1989. His current research and teaching interests are in the areas of structure, processing, and properties of polymers, fibers, and composites with a focus on carbon nanotubes and other nano materials. He has conducted fiber processing and structure-property studies on a broad range of polymers including synthetic and natural polymers, as well as carbon fibers. He has published more than 200 papers.


Thursday, July 28


Crowne Plaze Hotel, San Francisco Airport
1177 Aiport Blvd.
Burlingame, CA



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (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 below or contact:

Len Radzilowski
phone: 650-361-3264

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Thursday, July 21 for early registration discount.
11:59PM, Sunday, June 29 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Local Petrale sole
Chicken - Roasted Garlic and Herb Chicken
Vegetarian - Ravioli with ricotta cheese and lemon

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

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