September 24, 2020 UMD Home FabLab AIMLab


Photo provided courtesy of A. Epstein.

Photo provided courtesy of A. Epstein.

 

Alex Epstein – who completed his bachelor of science degree in materials science and engineering at the University of Maryland (UMD) in 2018 – received a 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF). The NSF-GRF offers three years of funding, renewed annually, in support of masters and doctoral research in STEM fields.

The fellowship will support Epstein’s Ph.D. research at the University of California, Berkeley, which focuses on polymers.

“I use computational techniques to help develop new plastics that can be chemically recycled,” Epstein said. “Chemical recycling takes a plastic product and degrades it back to its original molecular building blocks. By recovering those original molecules, chemical recycling allows plastics to be recycled in a way that retains 100% of their value, unlike current mechanical recycling methods. I'm working on an atomic-scale model of the key chemical reaction in that process to further our understanding of how to design chemically recyclable plastics.”

While studying at UMD, Epstein was advised by mechanical engineering professor, Sarah Bergbreiter (now at Carnegie Mellon University), during his freshmen and sophomore years, but after MSE Professor, Yifei Mo (who became his advisor), introduced him to computational materials science, Alex quickly became hooked on how computer simulations can be utilized to both understand materials at the atomic scale, and design new materials.

“For my Ph.D. research, I wanted to continue computational research on sustainable materials, and I was also interested in reducing single-use plastic pollution,” said Epstein. “My advisor at Cal, Prof. Kristin Persson, presented me with an opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Brett Helms, who is developing these new plastics – I’m excited about the potential to accelerate the discovery of sustainable plastics through a close computational-experimental collaboration!” As are we.



May 28, 2020


«Previous Story  

 

 

Current Headlines

UMD Research Team Advances the Battery Revolution

Investing in Environmentally Responsible Engineering

Sci-Fi Social Distancing?

A Light Bright and Tiny: NIST Scientists Build a Better Nanoscale LED

The Impact of Scholarships

Natural Patterns of Wood Shine Through in 'Aesthetic Wood'

Joy Chao Receives 2020 MRS Silver Graduate Student Award

UMD researcher receives new $1M Vehicle Technology Award

Legacy through Impact: Dr. Darryll J. Pines

Rapidly evolving ‘smart marble’ sensors hold promise for monitoring pharmaceutical industry bioreactors and beyond

 

Colleges A. James Clark School of Engineering
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Communicate Contact Us
Contact the Webmaster
Google+
Follow us on TwitterTwitter logo

Links Privacy Policy
Sitemap
RSS

Copyright The University of Maryland University of Maryland
2004-2020