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Iowa Researcher Works on Biorenewable Plastics & Self-Healing Composites

SpecialChem / Aug 15, 2011

Michael Kessler is an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University where he teaches and directs the Polymer Composites Research Group of graduate students and postdocs. His current work, funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on biorenewable polymers that offer alternatives to petroleum based plastics. In addition to his responsibilities as a Professor, he is an Associate of the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. His honors include the Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the NSF CAREER Award and the Elsevier Young Composites Researcher Award from the American Society for Composites. Kessler has worked at the forefront of the rapidly emerging field of self-healing polymers and composites for the last decade.

"In college I had an excellent teacher for a class called Mechanics of Materials. I found the class fascinating, and he encouraged me to pursue graduate school in that field. While in graduate school, I spent my first year as a teaching assistant while I tried to decide on a research advisor and thesis project. I found a professor that was initiating a new research project on self-healing composite materials, and I decided to pursue my Ph.D. research on the topic. I never regretted that decision. By the time I graduated with my Ph.D. in 2002, we had published the results of our research in the prestigious journal Nature, and the research had been featured in a wave of print, radio and television media," Michael Kessler said.

"The benefits of our research include safer and more damage-tolerant polymer structures in aerospace, medical and general consumer products; wider use of polymers derived from renewable biological feedstock rather than petroleum, which would reduce the carbon footprint of polymer products and strengthen agricultural and rural economies; and the development of new polymeric materials with added value and properties not presently available in commercial plastics and composites," Kessler continued.

About Iowa State University

Iowa State is one of the international, prestigious universities with a friendly welcoming personality. More than 28,000 students choose from 100 majors, study with world-class scholars and hone their leadership skills in more than 800 student organizations. Iowa State offers a great environment where students can enjoy reaching their potential and discovering their passions. It's a culturally diverse student body with students from all 50 states and more than 110 countries.

Source: Iowa State University

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