Soft Materials

Soft Materials

Soft Materials

The shapes, structures, and functions of soft materials -- including liquids, colloids, polymers, foams, gels, granular materials, liquid crystals, and most biological materials -- can be easily altered by chemical, biological and mechanical modifications. Chemical engineers study soft materials to understand self-assembly and structure formation from the molecular to macroscopic length scales. Biological materials achieve much of their structure through formation of cell membranes that encapsulate a particular volume (a cell) that controls transport of particular materials through the membrane and thus which reactions can occur within the cell. Professors Kuhl, Longo, Faller, Parikh and Manikantan study cell membrane formation and selected transport of materials through biological and non-biological membranes.  Professors Wan, Seker, Silva and Hihath focus more on generation or new biological materials and interfaces or development of bio-probes for medical applications. Polymers are chain-like molecules that achieve function from how they fold and tangle with each other. Professors Hsieh, Pan and Sun study fiber-forming polymers for their structural properties for example in paper, clothing or functional materials. Professors Moule, Faller, and Hihath study the electronic properties of molecules and polymers and Professors Kuhl, Longo and Faller study the interaction of specific polymers and proteins with surfaces and cell membranes. The UC Davis Chemical Engineering department is a great place to study soft materials.

Soft Materials Faculty


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Tonya Kuhl

Position Title
Professor and Chair
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Roland Faller

Position Title
Professor and Associate Dean for Facilities and Capital Planning
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Jiandi Wan

Position Title
Assistant Professor
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Gang Sun

Position Title
Professor