The Center for Complex Fluids Engineering

We are dedicated to understanding the nanoscale structures and interactions that enable the design of novel fluid and soft material systems with tunable mechanical, chemical, optical, electronic and biological characteristics. This includes the synthesis of molecules and particles with designed self-assembly and interfacial behaviors to meet engineering objectives. The Center places high value on research that enables design of materials, processes and applications across a spectrum of industries.

Complex fluids engineering is everywhere around us

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What do paint, pediatric medicines, laundry detergent, cell membranes and mayonnaise have in common? They are all complex fluids. Complex fluids include emulsions, gels, foams and liquid suspensions of solid nanoparticles or micrometer sized colloidal particles. Self-assembled structures formed by surfactants, polymers and lipids, such as micelles, bilayers and liposomes are also complex fluids.

CCFE research spans from biophysics to formulation

The structure and dynamics of self-assembled cell structures and formulated fluid products are controlled by similar underlying physical chemical phenomena. CCFE research involves extensive cross-talk among engineers, biophysicists, and chemists.

CCFE research and education go hand-in-hand

The collaborative research spirit in the center is closely aligned with the unique coursework and outreach opportunities provided by the Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces Program. Focused lecture and laboratory courses complement graduate students’ in-depth research expertise as they prepare to enter academia or a wide variety of industries.

CCFE students advance diverse industries

Our graduates have thriving careers in diverse industries, including pharmaceuticals, paints and coatings, aeronautics, energy, advanced materials, electronic materials, consumer products, specialty chemicals, food technology, biotechnology, and agrochemicals.

The research thrusts of the Center for Complex Fluids Engineering include complex fluid interfaces and films, colloidal and surface forces, surfactant and polymer self-assembly, electrokinetics, particle self- and directed-assembly, biomembranes and biointerfaces, environmental implications of nanomaterials, and microfluidic technologies.

CCFE faculty are highly interdisciplinary