Uttandaraman (U.T.) Sundararaj

Professor

Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

PhD - Chemical Engineering, Specialization in Polymer Materials

University of Minnesota, 1994

BSc - Chemical Engineering, Specialization in Computer Process Control

University of Alberta, 1989

Contact information

Location

Calgary Centre for Innovative Technology : CCIT 320

Research

Research areas

  • Polymer nanocomposites
  • Polymer blends
  • Extrusion
  • Visualization of polymer flow
  • Polymer adhesion
  • Polymer interfacial tension
  • Material properties of polymers
  • EMI shielding
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • Rheology of complex fluids

Research activities

Polymer blends and nanocomposites are the focus of the Polymer Processing Group (PPG). Polymer blending is the most efficient way to obtain new materials with enhanced performance. The blending of two or more homopolymers (with or without nanofillers) to form immiscible blends having certain desired mechanical properties is a keyscientific challenge that requires application of concepts from chemistry, polymer physics and engineering design. Polymer Nanocomposites (polymers with nanofillers) are being used for high tech applications, but very little is understood about the reasons for their outstanding properties and about their processing.

The group has made polymer nanocomposites using specialty metal nanofillers produced in-house. These "nanowires" are made in-house using a template-directed method which allows us to tailor the size and properties of the nanofiller. When combined with polymers, they have unique properties that are suitable for smart and advanced materials. It has been found that these materials offer key combinations of properties not available in single-phase materials. The incredible amount of interfacial area that is available in nanosized materials can lead to novel properties previously unattainable via traditional composites. Other studies of current interest for the group are related to the understanding of properties and processing of polymer nanocomposites made of immiscible polymer blends and nanofillers like carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, graphene, and nanoclays. This is a very exciting, challenging and multidisciplinary area of the group that offers great opportunities for academic and industrial research. Below are some electron micrographs of different research projects in this area developed by our group over the last years.

The group is also involved in studying the fundamentals of extrusion and applying chemical engineering concepts to the extrusion process. Fundamental chemical engineering concepts like heat transfer, mass transfer, reaction and mixing have not been applied to what is essentially a chemical engineering process - screw extrusion of polymers and polymer blends. Previous work in this area has not attempted a unifying treatment of the twin-screw extrusion process using chemical engineering.

The final properties of polymer blends depend on their morphology, which is in turn controlled by the blending process. It is crucial to understand the mechanisms that control the incorporation of one polymer into another and its relation to the final distribution and properties of the blend. The group has laid out the basic mechanisms involved in the morphology development of a polymer blend: i.e. the breakup and formation of particular structures of a polymer material inside another polymer. The group is doing contributions to the visualization of melting, deformation, and breaking up of polymers during melt mixing process. Currently, we are modeling deformation of viscoelastic materials and using model experiments to understand the fundamentals. The effects of coalescence and interfacial reaction on the stability of polymer blend morphology are studied.

The group has built two new miniature mixer designs to analyze specialty materials available in small quantities (2 grams or less). These custom-designed mixers allow us to synthesize blends and nanocomposites that match those made in larger industrial scale extruders and batch mixers.


Biography

Dr. Uttandaraman Sundararaj is a renowned polymer researcher recognized with awards from international societies like the Polymer Processing Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany). He has published over 200 refereed contributions and has supervised over 45 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. He is an exceptional instructor, adept at explaining difficult and abstract concepts in a manner that makes these accessible to all of his students, He constantly seeks innovative ways to communicate with his students through novel in-class activities and has developed innovative teaching methods, particularly related to active learning and team learning.


Publications

Recent selected publications 

Aliabadian, E., Kamkar, M., Sadeghi, S., Chen, Z. and Sundararaj, U., (2018). “Rheology of fumed silica nanoparticles/partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide aqueous solutions under small and large amplitude oscillatory shear deformations”, Journal of Rheology, 62.

Santos, J.P.F., da Silva, A.B., Arjmand, M., Bretas, R.E.S., Sundararaj, U., (2018) “Nanofibers of poly(vinylidene fluoride)/copper nanowire: Microstructural analysis and dielectric behavior”, European Polymer Journal, 101.

Sadeghi, S., Arjmand, M., Otero Navas, I., Zehtab Yazdi, A., Sundararaj, U. (2017) “Effect of Nanofiller Geometry on Network Formation in Polymeric Nanocomposites: Comparison of Rheological and Electrical Properties of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Nanoribbon”, Macromolecules, 50.

Yazdi, A. Z., Otero Navas, I., Abouelmagd, A., Sundararaj, U. (2017) “Direct Creation of Highly Conductive Laser-Induced Graphene Nanocomposites from Polymer Blends”, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 38.

Zeraati, A.S., Arjmand, M., Sundararaj,  u. (2017) “Silver Nanowire/MnO2 Nanowire Hybrid Polymer Nanocomposites: Materials with High Dielectric Permittivity and Low Dielectric Loss”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9.

Yazdi, A.Z., Chizari, K., Jalilov, A., Tour, J., Sundararaj U., (2015) “Helical and Dendritic Unzipping of Carbon Nanotubes: A Route to Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Nanoribbons”, ACS Nano, 9.
 

Invited, keynote, plenary presentations at conferences

Keynote Presentation, Polymer Processing Society International Conference, Cancun, Mexico (2017)

Invited Presentation, Asia-Europe Symposium on Properties of Reinforced Polymers, Chengdu, China (2017)

Plenary Presentation, Advancements in Polymeric Materials, Bangalore, India (2015)

Plenary Presentation, Polymer Processing Society Asia-Australia Meeting, Kish Island, Iran (2011)

Plenary Presentation, Brazilian Polymer Society Conference, Campos de Jordao, Brazil (2011)
 

Selected invited talks at corporations, universities and government organizations

U. Sundararaj, “Polymer Blends and Hybrid Polymer Nanocomposites for Advanced Engineering Properties”, University of Pittsburgh – Invited Department Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, February 2018.

U. Sundararaj, “Electrically Conductive Polymer Nanocomposites for Electromagnetic Shielding”, Michigan State University–Invited Department Seminar, East Lansing, MI, 2018.

U. Sundararaj, “Polyolefin Nanocomposites for Electromagnetic Shielding and Charge Storage Applications”, Total Petrochemicals Research, Feluy, Belgium, September 2017.

U. Sundararaj, “Custom Nanomaterials for use in Hybrid Polymer Blend Nanocomposites for Electrical and EMI Shielding Applications”, Hutchinson SA Research Centre, Montartgis, France, August 2017.

U. Sundararaj, “Hybrid Polymer Nanocomposites for Electromagnetic Shielding and Charge Storage Applications”, Tian Fu Distinguished Lecture Series, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, July 2017.

U. Sundararaj*, “Polymer NanoMaterials for Chemical Storage Applications”, Nova Chemicals, Calgary, AB June 2016.

U. Sundararaj, “Electrically Conductive Polymer Nanocomposites for Electromagnetic Shielding and Charge Storage Applications”, 3M Innovation Centre, Bangalore, India, February 2015.

U. Sundararaj*, “Synergistic Properties Electrically Conductive Hybrid Polymeric Nanocomposites”, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH September 2012.

U. Sundararaj*, “Electrically Conductive Polymer-Metal Nanowire Nanocomposites for Electromagnetic Shielding Applications”, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology Lecture Series, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON February 2012. View on YouTube

U. Sundararaj*, “Visualization of Viscoelastic Drop Breakup”, Sharif University, Tehran, Iran November 2011.

U. Sundararaj*, “Miniature mixers for CNT Nanocomposites”, Langmuir Lecture at GE Corporate Research and Development, Schenectady, NY, February 2005.

 

Boards

  • President, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (2016-2017)
  • International Representative-Canada, Polymer Processing Society (2009-present)
  • Editorial Board Member, Functional Composite Materials (2017-present)
  • Editorial Board Member, Chemical Engineering Education (2015-present)
  • Advisory Board Member, Centre for Applied Research on Plastics and Composites (CREPEC) (2012-present)

 

 


Awards

Research awards

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada - Discovery Supplement Accelerator Award (2015)

“Among 20 best articles from Wiley Chemical Engineering” (2015)

Killam Annual Professor Award (2012)

Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (2005, Germany)

Polymer Processing Society - Morand Lambla Award (2003)


Teaching awards

Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award (2016, 2018)

GREAT Graduate Supervisor Award (2016, 2018)

Mentoring Excellence Award (2015)

Chemical Institute of Canada - Chemical Education Award (2014)

3M National Teaching Fellowship (2010) View on YouTube

CCPE Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education (2008)

Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2005)

APEGA Summit Award for Excellence in Education (2007)
 

Fellowships of societies

Fellow of Engineering Institute of Canada (2019)

Fellow of Society of Plastics Engineers (2018)

Fellow of Chemical Institute of Canada (2018)

Fellow of Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (2009)