Rich Spontak

Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

  • Engineering Building I (EB1) 2088E

Richard J. Spontak was a research scientist with Procter & Gamble before he joined the NCSU faculty in 1992. Spontak has over 104 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and his work has been featured on the cover of Microsc. Res. Tech. and Langmuir.

Spontak conducts studies to improve the current understanding of microstructural polymer systems, which are of scientific interest as self-assembling polymers and commercial value as adhesives, (bio)compatibilizing agents, nanotemplates, and membranes. His group’s efforts are at the cutting edge of block copolymer research: e.g., they have obtained the first 3D images of the bicontinuous gyroid (Ia3d) and sponge (L3) morphologies. They characterize polymers with electronspectroscopic microscopy, and dispersions/gels with freeze-fracture replication and cryo-TEM techniques. Use of these tools has expedited the study of block copolymers and their blends/gels, and has helped to elucidate novel polymer gelation mechanisms, PDLC composition/morphology relationships, and interpolymer complexation. Other areas of interest include polymer alloying through mechanical attrition, transmission electron microtemography, and modification of polymer solutions via salting-in.


Ph.D. 1988

Chemical Engineering

University of California at Berkeley

B.S. 1983

Chemical Engineering

Pennsylvania State University

Research Description

Dr. Spontak's research interests include effects of homo/copolymer blending, molecular architecture, monomer sequencing, and solvation on the phase behavior of microstructural polymer systems.


Form-stable phase-change elastomer gels derived from thermoplastic elastomer copolyesters swollen with fatty acids
Armstrong, D. P., Chatterjee, K., Ghosh, T. K., & Spontak, R. J. (2020), THERMOCHIMICA ACTA, 686.
Humidity-responsive molecular gate-opening mechanism for gas separation in ultraselective nanocellulose/IL hybrid membranes
Janakiram, S., Ansaloni, L., Jin, S.-A., Yu, X., Dai, Z., Spontak, R. J., & Deng, L. (2020), GREEN CHEMISTRY, 22(11), 3546–3557.
Dielectric and Resistive Heating of Polymeric Media: Toward Remote Thermal Activation of Stimuli-Responsive Soft Materials
Armstrong, D. P., & Spontak, R. (2019), MACROMOLECULAR RAPID COMMUNICATIONS, 40(4).
Effect of Composition on the Molecular Dynamics of Biodegradable Isotactic Polypropylene/Thermoplastic Starch Blends
Wozniak-Braszak, A., Knitter, M., Markiewicz, E., Ingram, W. F., & Spontak, R. J. (2019), ACS SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY & ENGINEERING, 7(19), 16050–16059.
Facile and solvent-free fabrication of PEG-based membranes with interpenetrating networks for CO2 separation
Deng, J., Dai, Z., Yan, J., Sandru, M., Sandru, E., Spontak, R., & Deng, L. (2019), JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE, 570, 455–463.
Incorporation of an ionic liquid into a midblock-sulfonated multiblock polymer for CO2 capture
Dai, Z., Ansaloni, L., Ryan, J. J., Spontak, R. J., & Deng, L. (2019), JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE, 588.
Inherently self-sterilizing charged multiblock polymers that kill drug-resistant microbes in minutes
Peddinti, B. S. T., Scholle, F., Vargas, M. G., Smith, S. D., Ghiladi, R. A., & Spontak, R. J. (2019), MATERIALS HORIZONS, 6(10), 2056–2062.
Self-Assembly of a Midblock-Sulfonated Pentablock Copolymer in Mixed Organic Solvents: A Combined SAXS and SANS Analysis
Mineart, K. P., Ryan, J. J., Appavou, M.-S., Lee, B., Gradzielski, M., & Spontak, R. (2019), LANGMUIR, 35(4), 1032–1039.
Solution self-assembly of ABC triblock terpolymers with a central crystallizable poly(ferrocenyldimethylsilane) core-forming segment
Oliver, A. M., Spontak, R. J., & Manners, I. (2019), POLYMER CHEMISTRY, 10(20), 2559–2569.
Spectroscopic and Rheological Cross-Analysis of Polyester Polyol Cure Behavior: Role of Polyester Secondary Hydroxyl Content
Tilly, J. C., Pervaje, A. K., Inglefield, D. L., Santiso, E. E., Spontak, R. J., & Khan, S. A. (2019), ACS OMEGA, 4(1), 932–939.

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