Malancha Gupta, Assistant Professor in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, has been chosen to receive a highly prestigious American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator award for her proposed research, “Green Solventless Fabrication of Ionic Liquid/Polymer Composites Using Vapor Phase Polymerization”.
Each year the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund holds a highly selective competition to award seed funding to top researchers with a track-record of producing innovative fundamental research. Established in 1954, its goal has been to support “advanced scientific education, and the careers of scientists, to aid in significantly increasing the world’s energy options.”
This award provides funding of $100,000 over two years and will support Gupta’s research on the fabrication of liquid/polymer composites using vapor phase polymerization. This technique does not require the use of organic solvents and thereby offers a safer and cleaner alternative to liquid phase polymer processing.
Professor Gupta and her students will systematically study how variables such as reactor pressure and substrate temperature affect the deposition kinetics and the morphology of the composites. The mechanistic insight gained from this study will allow the mechanical strength, electrical conductivity, and chemical functionality of the composites to be tuned for fuel cell and battery applications.
Professor Gupta is one of a number of Viterbi’s faculty and staff who have been recognized in 2012 with prestigious young investigator awards. As of June, eight researchers, including Malancha Gupta, have been awarded these highly selective young investigator grants.