Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 02/17/2009
Tuesday, 02/17/2009
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Provost Eric Kaler
Stony Brook University

"Micellar Networks - From Biology to Rheology "

[This is a CCNY/Columbia NSF-IGERT Soft Materials seminar]


Many nonionic surfactants form micellar networks in water over a range of compositions and conditions, and theory suggests that the presence and nature of these networks is closely related to the presence of miscibility gaps in the phase diagram. The micelles can be directly observed by cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) and quantified by small-angle neutron scattering measurements. Convenient experimental systems with which to explore the features of such networks include alkyl monoglucosides surfactants and various additives. The temperature dependence of the phase separation observed in the binary glucoside -water mixture is explained in terms of the average curvature of the surfactant aggregate, and on the thermodynamic trade-off of micellar endcaps and junctions. As the phase boundary is approached, junctions become energetically more favorable than end-caps, and eventually the network becomes saturated. The miscibility gap can be eliminated either by the addition of an ethoxylated alcohol surfactant under conditions that promote the formation of micellar end caps, or by addition of an ionic surfactant that limits the formation of junctions. These changes in morphology have significant impacts on the flow properties of the solutions, and can create structures of potential use in the crystallization of membrane proteins.


Eric W. Kaler earned a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering (with honors) from the California Institute of Technology in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1982 working with L.E. Scriven and H.T. Davis. Dr. Kaler joined the faculty of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington in 1982 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1987. He moved to the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware in 1989, became a Professor there in 1991, Department Chairman in 1996, and was appointed the Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1998. He became Dean of the College of Engineering in 2000. In 2007 he became the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University, and in 2008 assumed the duties of Vice President for Brookhaven Affairs. He was also a Visiting Professor at the Universität of Graz in 1995. His research interests are in the area of surfactant and colloid science, statistical mechanics, and thermodynamics. Dr. Kaler received one of the first Presidential Young Investigator Awards from the National Science Foundation in 1984, the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the American Society of Engineering Education in 1995, the 1998 American Chemical Society Award in Colloid or Surface Chemistry, and the 1998 ACS Delaware Section Award. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001 and received the Chilton Award from the Wilmington AIChE Section in 2002. In 2005, Dr. Kaler was awarded the E. Arthur Trabant Institutional Award for Women’s Equity by the University of Delaware and received the Lectureship Award from the Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry of the Chemical Society of Japan. He received the Kash Mittal Award from the Surfactants in Solution Symposium in 2006. He has chaired three Gordon Research Conferences and serves or has served on the editorial boards of the journals Langmuir, Colloids and Surfaces, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, and AICHE Journal, and was an associate editor of the European Physical Journal. He is also the founding co-editor-in-chief of the international journal Current Opinions in Colloid and Interface Science. He has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers and holds ten U.S. patents. He has been a consultant to numerous companies, and has served in a variety of positions in several professional societies.