The objective of this CAREER project is to provide fundamental knowledge on the relationships between materials-specific properties and the wetting behavior of soft, swollen, and crosslinked polymers. Soft and swollen polymers are found in a host of applications, yet it is not well understood how they interface with different liquids or solids. This project aims to understand the formation of a ridge that occurs when liquid drops and insects are placed on the surface. A diverse range of polymer properties, as well as the effects of mechanical stretching will be considered. To investigate how insects stick or slip on these surfaces, an international collaboration will be initiated with researchers from the United Kingdom. The project will train students in soft materials science, physics, chemistry, and characterization methods across a wide range of educational levels.
Pham joined the UK College of Engineering faculty in 2017.