Wanda Jones, Ph.D. (2009) 

Dissertation Topic:
Thermal and Mechanical Properties of POSS-Coated Expandable Thermoplastic Nanocomposites

Major Professor:  Dr. Vijaya Rangari, Professor, Materials Science & Engineering

B.S.:  Chemistry, Miles College

Employment:  Faulkner State Community College & Bishop State Community College, Mobile, AL

Dissertation Abstract:

High performance polymeric composite materials play an essential role in developing global economy and improving human life. Application of polymer composite materials that are lightweight and high strength are necessary in building things such as boats, airplanes, fuel efficient cars, and solar panels, among others. Composite materials are increasingly being used in industries because of their superior strength to weight ratio and capacity to bend or not bend, under heavy loads. Over the past decade research interests have concentrated on inventing these types of materials using nanoparticles as fillers.  Two major nanoflillers that have gained popularity in polymer based composites are the Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) and silica (Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxanes (POSS)). CNTs have been used as high strength nano-reinforcements for composites, with low weight and unique mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. POSS nanoparticles are the smallest possible particles of silica compounds that are used in many applications in nanotechnology. In this research, Wanda has focused on studying the effect of these nanofillers on the manufacturing of lightweight and high strength composite materials. Her future plans include starting as a Post Doctoral Fellow at Cornell University and later becoming a college professor.