Dr. Roger Bonnecaze Awarded Top Honor for Fluid-Particle Systems Work

Bonnecaze, Roger T.Professor and Chemical Engineering Department Chair Roger T. Bonnecaze received the Thomas Baron Award at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 2011 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 18.  The award, sponsored by Shell Global Solutions, recognizes an individual whose outstanding scientific and technical accomplishments have made a significant impact in the field of fluid-particle systems.

Bonnecaze has made significant contributions to particle engineering through theoretical and experimental studies of the flow of concentrated suspensions and the rheology, or flow behavior, of soft particle glasses.

As part of the award, Bonnecaze delivered the Baron Award lecture: “Slip, Flow and Rheology of Soft Particle Glasses”.  Soft particle glasses form a broad family of materials made of deformable particles, as diverse as microgels, emulsion droplets, star polymers, block copolymer micelles and proteins, which are jammed at volume fractions where they are in contact and interact via soft elastic repulsions.  Despite a great variability in origin of particle elasticity, soft glasses have many generic features in common. They behave like weak elastic solids at rest but flow very much like liquids above the yield stress. This unique feature is exploited in industry to process high performance coatings, solid inks, ceramics pastes, textured food and personal care products.

Dr. Bonnecaze and his co-workers have developed a theoretical micromechanics framework for designing new soft additives at the microscopic level to produce materials with superior flow properties. Some of his work appeared in the recent issue of the journal Nature Materials.

Professor Bonnecaze has also made several major contributions to other fluid-particle systems, including the rheology of electrorheological fluids, development of electrical impedance tomography for non-invasive imaging of concentrated suspensions, and self-assembly of colloidal and nanoparticles for electronic and photovoltaic materials.

“Roger brings to the profession a rare combination of mastery of theoretical and computational modelling, ingenuity and creativity in experimental design and distinguished leadership of one of the top chemical engineering departments in the nation,” said Jonathan Higdon, chemical engineering professor at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bonnecaze holds the T. Brockett Hudson Professorship and Bill L. Stanley Endowed Leadership Chair at UT Austin.  His research focuses on the discovery and understanding of fundamental phenomena in the behavior of complex fluid and materials processing flows and application of this knowledge to modeling, design and use of industrial and natural processes.  He received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1985.  His M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering were awarded by the California Institute of Technology in 1987 and 1991.
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