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Alan Tonelli

Contributor II
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Tonelli_Alan.jpgEducational Background B.S.(with distinction) U. of Kansas,Chemical Engineering,1964 Ph. D.(with P. J. Flory)Stanford,Polymer Chemistry, 1968 Employment Member of Technical Staff Polymer Chemistry Research Dept. AT&T-BELL Labs. 9/68 - 8/91 Assoc. Prof. Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science, College of Textiles, North Carolina State University 8/91 - 8/94 Professor " " 8/94 - 7/96 Hoechst-Trevira Professor of Fiber & Polymer Science 7/96 - 9/99 KoSa Professor of Polymer Science 8/99 to date Honors Tau Beta Pi; Sigma Xi; Outstanding undergraduate in Physical Chemistry at U. of Kansas - 1963; NSF Coop. Graduate Research Fellowship at Stanford - 1964-1966; Distinguished Technical Staff Award(1983), Extraordinary Achievement Award(1985,1987) at AT+T-BELL Labs.; Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989. Professional Activities Member of American Chemical(Polymer Chemistry Div.) and American Physical (Polymer Physics Div.) Societies. Founding member of the North Jersey Regional Science Fair for H.S. students. Chairman of Polymer Topical Group North Jersey local section of American Chemical Society in 1980. Organized and Chaired Undergraduate Research Symposium under the auspices of the North Jersey section of ACS in 1981. Tour speaker for the American Chemical Society 1986, 1988. Chairman-elect and Program Chairman for the North Carolina Polymer Group of the American Chemical Society 1992-93. Chairman of the North Carolina Polymer Group of the American Chemical Society 1993-94. Director of Polymer & Textile Chemistry Program, College of Textiles, North Carolina State University 1995-98. Supervised the research progams of 30 undergraduate, 20 graduate, and 8 Post-Doctoral Students. Editorial Boards of Macromolecules(1984-1986) and Comp. and Theor. Polym. Sci.(1991-2001). Publications More than 250 publications including two books ("NMR Spectroscopy and Polymer Microstructure: The Conformational Connection",Wiley,1989; "Polymers From the Inside Out; An Introduction to Macromolecules", Wiley, 2001) and Several (25+) book chapters. Example: "Creation of Novel Polymer materials by Processing with Inclusion Compounds", L. Huang, M. Gerber, H. Taylor, J. Lu, E. Tapaszi, M. Wutkowski, M. Hill, C. Lewis, A. Harvey, A. Herndon, M. Wei, C. C. Rusa, and A. E. Tonelli, Macromol. Symp., 176, 129, 2001. Consulting Exxon-Mobil, Eastman, The Polymer Processing Institute, and National Starch


Formation and Properties of Truly Compatible Polymer Blends

We describe the successful mixing of polymer pairs and polymers and small molecules to form blends that possess molecular-level homogeniety. This is achieved by simultaneous formation of crystalline inclusion compounds (ICs) between host cyclodextrins (CDs) and two or more guests, and then subsequently coalescing the included guests from their CD-ICs to form blends. Several such CD-IC fabricated blends, including both poymer1/polymer2 and small molecule/polymer blends, are described and examined by means of X-ray diffraction, DSC, TGA, FTIR, and solid-state NMR to probe the level of mixing achieved. It is generally observed that homogeneous,compat- ible blends with molecular-level mixing of blend components is achieved, even when the blend components are normally immiscible by the usual solution and melt blending techniques. Preliminary observations of the thermal and temporal stabilities of the CD-IC fabricated blends are reported, and CD-IC fabrication of polymer blends and polymer/additive mixtures is suggested as a novel means to achieve a significant expansion of the range of potentially useful polymer materials.

Polymer Physics and Polymer Chemistry: Why do Polymers Behave Differently From Other Materials and From Each Other

We seek an understanding of the unique properties exhibited by materials made from polymers, because of their high molecular weights and long-chain natures. Among theses are rubber-like elasticity, time-dependent flow and mechanical properties, and two-phase crystalline and amorphous morphologies. All polymers, regardless of the detailed chemical structures of their repeat units, can exhibit such behaviors which distinguish them from atomic and small-molecule materials. Their long chains permit polymers to assume an almost limitless number of conformations and overall sizes and shapes via facile backbone bond rotations, thus giving them an internal degree of freedom to respond to stresses or their environment. This internal or intra-chain degree of freedom is unavailable to small-molecule or atomic materials, and results in the unique behaviors of polymers, which we call polymer physics. On the other hand, the wide range of behaviors exhibited by different polymers is termed polymer chemistry, because of their chemically distinct repeat units or microstructures. By taking account of the detailed microstructures of polymers, since these govern their backbone rotations, conformations, and overall sizes and shapes, their internal responses to stresses and their environments, ie., their properties, can be both understood and distinguished from one another.

Polymers: The Stuff of Commerce and Life

The high molecular weight,long-chain natures of polymers are used to explain why polymer materials dominate commerce and nature. Unlike materials made exclusively from small-molecules or atoms, polymeric materials possess an additional degree of freedom by which they can respond to their environments. Their long-chains have the ability to dramatically alter both their over all sizes and shapes in response to the environment in which they are placed and/or the stresses to which they are subjected. Facile rotation about their backbone bonds confers upon polymers an internal degree of freedom which allows them to adopt a myriad of sizes and shapes. Unlike small-molecule and atomic materials, which may only respond by altering their intermolecular or interatomic spatial arrangements, polymer chains can in addition uniquely respond internally by changing their intramolecular sizes and shapes. The singular internal flexibility of polymers is utilized to explain their unique properties as exhibited by both man-made synthetic polymers and naturally-occurring biopolymers. For example, it is concluded that life is critically dependent upon the ability of biopolymers to undergo intramolecular, single-chain conformational phase transitions in order to organize into the complex bio-materials found in nature.


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