Joel L. Plawsky
— Professor of Chemical Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

— Sc.D., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1986
— M.S., Chemical Engineering Practice, MIT, 1982
— B.S., Chemical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, University of Michigan, 1980

Career Highlights:
Prior to joining Rensselaer, Plawsky spent two years as a senior engineer at Corning, Inc. He then served as an assistant professor in the department of chemical engineering and as director of the School of Engineering Practice, Albany Station, at MIT. He became a member of Rensselaer's Department of Chemical Engineering in the fall of 1988. Plawsky was a NASA Faculty Fellow in 1999 and 2000, a visiting professor at Delft University of Technology in 2002, and a visiting professor at the National Space Science and Technology Center in 2003.

Plawsky earned a Lilly Teaching Fellowship in 1991 and was awarded the Outstanding Research Paper Award in 1995 at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers/Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME/JSME) Thermal Engineering Conference. He is a member of three honorary societies: Tau Beta Pi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, and Sigma XI and five professional societies: the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Optical Society of America, the Materials Research Society, the American Chemical Society, and the American Institute of Physics. Plawsky also holds patents for a fiber optic probe and system for particle size and velocity measurement, and for polymer/xerogel integrated optical waveguides.

Research Areas:
Plawsky's team's is conducting studies on thin films applied to photonic, microelectronic, and micro heat and mass transfer devices. He also works on new methods for concrete and mortar production and has a pioneering fluid mechanics experiment that will take place on the International Space Station.

The objective of Plawsky's integrated optical devices research is to develop complex optical circuits using nanoporous materials in combination with organic and inorganic thin films as the optical guiding and sensing layers. Such devices are becoming increasingly important in the telecommunication and data communication industries for processing optical signals, as well as for development of future generations of supercomputers and integrated biological and chemical sensors.

Plawsky's studies of inorganic-organic copolymer systems focus on hybrid nanoporous materials. His group is working to produce hybrid systems for use in sensors, insulation, and integrated electrical and photonic circuits. They also are interested in the fundamental transport processes that can occur in these systems and in exploiting those processes to make microscale chemical processing systems.

Concrete is the most widely used construction material on the planet, yet the technology for making it has changed little in over 2000 years. Now Plawsky and his researchers have developed a mixing apparatus to decouple mixing from reaction. They are investigating the fundamental interaction between particle size, chemical reaction, and mixing that is required to produce high performance, energy efficient, Earth-friendly concrete.

Plawsky also is involved in a fundamental investigation into the interaction of a thin liquid film with a solid surface. Researchers are altering the interaction between the fluid and solid surface either by using heat transfer to actively evaporate and condense a pure liquid on the surface, or by modifying the surface using self-assembled monolayers. The study eventually will be the first fluid mechanics experiment aboard the International Space Station.

Selected Publications:
J.L. Plawsky, S. Jovanovich, H. Littman, K.C. Hover, S. Gerolimatis, and K. Douglas, "The Effect of Dry Premixing of Sand and Cement on the Mechanical Properties of Mortar," Cement and Concrete Research, 33, 255-264, (2003).

N. Agarwal, S. Ponoth, J.L. Plawsky, P.D. Persans, "Optimized Oxygen Plasma Etching of Polyimide Films for Low Loss Optical Waveguides," Journal of Vacuum Science Technology A, 20, 1587-1591, (2002).

L. Zheng, Y.-X. Wang, J.L. Plawsky, P.C. Wayner Jr., "Effect of Curvature and Contact Angle on Interfacial Superheat of Microdrop in Dropwise Condensation," Langmuir, 18, 5170-5177, (2002).

N. Agarwal, S. Ponoth, J.L. Plawsky, and P. Persans, "Roughness Evolution in Polyimide Films due to Plasma Etching," Applied Physics Letters, 78, 2294-2296, (2001).

A. Jain, S. Rogojevic, W.N. Gill, and J.L. Plawsky, "The Effects of Processing History on the Modulus of Silica Xerogel Films," Journal of Applied Physics, 90, 5832-5834, (2001).

A. Jain, S. Rogojevic, S. Ponoth, N. Agarwal, I. Matthew, W.N. Gill, P. Persans, M. Tomozawa, J.L. Plawsky, and E. Simonyi, "Porous Silica Materials as Low-k Dielectrics for Electronic and Optical Interconnects," Thin Solid Films, 398-399, 513-522, (2001).

S. Rogojevic, A.Jain, T.M. Lu, G. Yang, A Kumar, H. Bakhru, W.A. Lanford, W.N. Gill, P.C. Wayner Jr., and J.L. Plawsky, "Interactions Between Silica Xerogel and Ta," Journal of Vacuum Science Technology B, 19, 354, (2001).

Y.-X. Wang, J.L. Plawsky, and P.C. Wayner Jr., "Optical Measurement of Microscale Transport Processes in Dropwise Condensation," Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, 5, 55, (2001).

T.E.F.M. Standaert, E.A. Joseph, G.S. Oehrlein, A. Jain, W.N. Gill, P.C. Wayner Jr., and J.L. Plawsky, "Etching of Xerogel in High-Density Fluorocarbon Plasmas," Journal of Vacuum Science Technology B, 18, 2742, (2000).

Contact Information:
Joel L. Plawsky
122 Ricketts Building
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 Eighth Street
Troy, N.Y. 12180 USA
(518) 276-6049



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