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Dr. Kalaitzidou joined Georgia Tech as an Assistant Professor in the G.W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering in November of 2007. She also holds an adjunct appointment in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. She obtained her Ph.D. in manufacturing and characterization of polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) from Michigan State University and worked as a post-doctoral researcher on mechanics of soft materials in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Dr. Kalaitzidou’s work focuses on utilizing the unique properties of nanomaterials by using them i) for manufacturing of multifunctional PNCs with advanced performance and ii) as coolants/lubricants in conventional machining processes. Both research areas aim at developing products or processes for increased energy efficiency based on sustainable and environmentally friendly methods. Examples include light weight PNCs for automotive applications, or PNCs made from biodegradable polymers instead of petroleum-based polymers; and finally substitution of synthetic oils used for lubrication and cooling in grinding or machining with aqueous dispersions of nanoplatelets. Furthermore, Dr Kalaitzidou, based on her expertise on soft materials, focuses also on design and fabrication of responsive surfaces and particles that are able to alter their geometry and properties upon demand in a controllable and reversible fashion. This is accomplished by using strain engineering, a very robust, low cost and versatile method that has been applied in polymers for first time by Dr Kalaitzidou. The breadth and depth of her research program as well as her commitment to train and expose graduate and undergraduate students in research are strongly reflected in the scholarly accomplishments listed below.
Polymer composites are essential part of today's world. They are used everywhere, from structural applications and automotive industry to paints, cosmetics, packaging and electronics. In addition, polymer composites are the preferred materials in bioengineering (artificial bones, tissue engineering) and biomedical research (advanced drug delivery systems) since they can be designed to be non-toxic, biocompatible and biodegradable. Graduate students will become skilled at designing, fabricating and characterizing advanced polymeric materials; and learn how to tailor the material properties to the end applications. They will gain knowledge of polymer processing methods (that is, extrusion, injection molding, casting) and characterization techniques such as thermomechanical, and rheological and surface/morphology characterization. Students will also obtain a fundamental understanding of the processing-structure-property relationship in composite materials. The knowledge and experience they will obtain during their graduate studies will allow them to thrive in the very competitive and ever changing field of advance polymeric materials and establish themselves as successful professionals in industry and in academia or consulting companies.
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