Polymers & Composite Materials

This class of materials includes synthetic macromolecules, as well as composites, which are constituted from two or more materials that result in unique and superior properties when combined. Researchers from the Departments of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, Chemistry, Mechanical & Materials Engineering and Physics & Astronomy have come together as members of CAMBR to engage in a broad range of study including, for example, establishing the links between the microscopic structure and bulk properties of complex fluids and designing and synthesising inorganic and polymeric materials with potentially desirable conducting, magnetic, redox, and sensing properties to the development of novel functional materials.


Kim Baines

Chemistry Building, Rm. 120A/310A
519 661-2111 ext 83122/86302
synthesis, characterization and applications of new organometallic polymers.

Multiply-bonded compounds of silicon and germanium have proven to be powerful building blocks in organometallic chemistry just as alkenes and alkynes are in organic synthesis and polymer chemistry. The importance of alkenes in organic polymers is undisputed. Recently, Dr. Baines has discovered a new approach to polysilenes and polygermenes, polymers with an alternating silicon (or germanium) carbon backbone, from the silicon and germanium analogues of alkenes, respectively. Her group continues to explore the chemistry and applications of this novel class of polymers.

John de Bruyn

Physics& Astronomy Building, Rm. 230
519 661-2111 ext 86430
Rheology and microrheology of polymers, nanocomposites, gels, and other soft materials.

Dr. de Bruyn's research aims to establish the links between the microscopic structure and bulk properties of complex fluids. He uses shear rheometry, dynamic light scattering, microscopy, and other techniques to study the microstructure and viscoelastic properties of complex fluids on both the microscopic and bulk scales. He also studies flow and flow instabilities in complex fluids and granular materials using a variety of flow visualization methods.

Joe Gilroy

Material Science Addition, Rm. 3201
519 661-2111 ext 81561
functional materials, metal- and radical-containing polymers, coordination chemistry, nanoparticle synthesis & catalysis, photovoltaic materials, redox shuttles.

Dr. Gilroy's research is centered around the design and synthesis of inorganic and polymeric materials with potentially desirable conducting, magnetic, redox, and sensing properties.  His research has both fundamental and applied aspects, with a long-term goal of making a significant impact to global scientific challenges, including the development of alternative energy technologies.  Current research projects include the synthesis of highly metallized polymers as precursors to novel heterogeneous catalysts, the synthesis of novel p-type semiconducting polymers for use in photovoltaic devices, and the study of organic radical polymers as redox shuttles for energy storage applications.

Frank Henning

Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research, London, ON
+49-721-4640-420 or 519-636-0742

Composite materials, wet compression molding, HP-RTM, in-line compounding of long-fibre reinforced polymers, injection moulding (thermosets and thermoplastics), design and construction of composite parts.

Andrew H. Hrymak

Spencer Engineering Building, Rm 2008
Polymer processing, computer simulation.

Dr. Hrymak is interested in problems with complex rheology, multiple phases and multiple length scales - e.g., liquid-liquid dispersions and particle-liquid flows. His group does computer simulation and experiments in a number of important polymer processing operations, including mixing (twin-screw extruders, static mixers, impingement mixing), die design, reactive processing, injection molding, liquid coating and rheology. They use computational fluid dynamics, finite element and finite volume methods, for problems with free and moving boundaries, as well as complex interfaces.

Jeffrey Hutter

Physics & Astronomy Building, Rm. 209
519-661-2111 ext 86719
Atomic force microscopy, mechanical properties of nanomaterials, crystal growth and kinetic inhibitors, biomineralization, viscoelastic properties of hydrogels.

Dr. Hutter is interested in studying materials and processes at the nanometer level.  This includes measuring the mechanical properties of nanofibres by atomic-force microscopy, real-time in-situ studies of the inhibition of biomineralization by specific proteins, and probing the structure of hydrogels and complex fluids using neutron scattering.  Active collaborations at Western involve researchers in Engineering and the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, as well as in the Faculty of Science.

Takashi Kuboki

Claudette Mackay-Lassonde Pavilion, Rm. 1306
519 661-2111 ext 88519
Polymer composites; biocomposites; nanocomposites; biopolymers; plastic foaming.

Dr. Kuboki’s primary research interests are in the areas of process-structure-property relationships of materials, and development of novel functional materials. The materials include synthetic and natural fibre reinforced polymer composites, biocomposites; nanocomposites, polymer blends, biopolymers, and plastic foams.

Paul Ragogna

Biology & Geological Sciences, Rm. 2024
519-661-2111 ext 87048
UV-curing; hydrophobic surfaces; highly fluorinated phosphonium salts; highly metallated polymers; side chain functionalized polymers; diblock copolymers.

Functional polymeric materials have a wide range of established and potential commercial applications.  From electrical conductivity, light emission or as barrier films, designer macromolecules play an important role in addressing these and related technological challenges.  In this context, the Ragogna group is interested in two particular areas of polymer/functional materials chemistry; (i) Designing surfaces with a high degree of water repellency (superhydrophobicity) that utilize low-cost starting materials, are UV curable and applied in a single coat application process; and, (ii) Side chain functionalized cobalt containing metallopolymers and diblock copolymers, with a high degree of tuneability with respect to the chemical substituents around the cobalt centre. 

J. T. Wood

Alexander Charles Spencer Engineering Building, Rm. 3061
519 661-2111 ext 83482
Structure-property relationships, mechanical testing, energy absorption.

Dr. Wood's research is focused on the characterization and application of lightweight structural materials, primarily for automotive applications.  Current research projects include the development of process-structure-property relationships for die-cast magnesium alloys and understanding the factors that contribute to the enhanced toughness of polymer composites.