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Alan Esker

  • Chair, Department of Chemistry
Alan Esker
480C Davidson Hall

Research Interests

Our group focuses on the preparation and characterization of thin films to explore the physical chemical aspects of polymer and biopolymer dynamics at surfaces and interfaces. Our current research interests include, quantifying binding interactions, lignification, biomimetic design of interfaces in composite materials, polymer degradation, and enzymatic transformations of biomass.  We are members of GlycoMIP:  An NSF Materials Innovation Platform and widely collaborate with research groups across campus, especially other members of the Macromolecules Innovation Institute (MII).  Our principal characterization methods include tensiometry, contact angle goniometry, atomic force microscopy (AFM), surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) studies.

  1. Najmeddine, A.; Xu, Z.; Liu, G.; Liu, G.; Esker, A. R.; Shakiba, M.  “Physics-based Constitutive Modeling of Photo-oxidative Aging in Semi-Crystalline Polymers based on Chemical Characterization Techniques,” Int. J. Solids 2022, 239-240, 111427.
  2. Sim, J. H.; Roman, M.; Esker, A. R. “Hydrophobically Modified Pullulan Adsorption onto Rod-like Cellulose Nanocrystals,” Cellulose, 2021, 28(15), 9725-9738.
  3. Carrazzone, R.; Li, X.; Foster, J.; Wall, C E.; Esker, A. R.; Madsen, L. A.; Matson, J. B. “Strong Variation of Micelle-Unimer Coexistence as a Function of Core Chain Mobility,” Macromolecules 2021, 54, 6975-6981.
  4. Xu, Z.; Liu, G; Cao, K.; Guo, D.; Serrano, J.; Esker, A. R.; Liu, G. “Solvent-resistant Self-Crosslinked Poly(ether imide),” Macromolecules 2021, 54(7), 3405-3412.
  5. Serrano, J. M.; Khan, A. U.; Liu, T.; Esker, A. R.; Liu, G. “Capacitive Organic Dye Removal by Block Copolymer Based Porous Carbon Fibers,” Adv. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 7 (16), 2000507.
  6. Tao, L.; Hu, A.; Yang, Z.; Xu, Z.; Wall, C. E.; Esker, A. R.; Zheng, Z.; Lin, F. “A Surface Chemistry Approach to Tailor the Hydrophilicity and Lithiophilicity of Carbon Films for Hosting High-performance Lithium Metal Anodes,” Adv. Funct. Mater. 2020, 30(31), 2000585.
  7. Zornjack, J.; Liu, J.; Esker, A. R.; Lin, T.; Fernandez-Fraguas, C. “Bulk and Interfacial Interactions Between Hydroxypropyl-Cellulose and Bile Salts:  Impact on the digestion of emulsified lipids,” Food Hydrocoll. 2020, 106, 105867.
  8. Liu, J.; Zhu, Y.; Wang, C.; Goodell, B.; Esker, A. R. “Chelator-mediated Biomimetic Degradation of Cellulose and Chitin,” Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 2020, 153, 433-440.
  9. Xie, Q.; Li, B.; Esker, A. R. “Phase Behavior of Poly(e-caprolactone)-b-Poly(tert-butyl acrylate) Block Copolymer at the Air/Water Interface,” Coll. Surf. A 2020, 587, 124346.
  10. Lao, L.; Xu, Z; Kuai, C.; Zheng, X.; Wall, C. E.; Jiang, C.; Esker, A. R.; Zheng, Z.; Lin, F. “Flexible lignin carbon membranes with surface ozonolysis to host lean lithium metal anodes for nickel-rich layered oxide batteries,” Energy Storage Mater. 2020, 24, 129-137.
  • Clifford Service Award, Virginia Tech Department of Chemistry, 2018
  • Cook Teaching Award, Virginia Tech Department of Chemistry, 2006
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2003–2008
  • 3M Untenured Faculty Award, 2002
  • Omnova Solutions Signature University Award, 2000
  • B.S. University of Wisconsin, 1991
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 1996

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