Rich Spontak


  • 919-515-4200
  • 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.


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).
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.
Highly CO2-permeable and -selective membranes derived from crossfinked poly(ethylene glycol) and its nanocomposites
Patel, N. P., Miller, A. C., & Spontak, R. (2019), Advanced Functional Materials, 14(7), 699–707.
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.
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.
Communication: Molecular-level description of constrained chain topologies in multiblock copolymer gel networks
Tuhin, M. O., Woloszczuk, S., Mineart, K. P., Pasquinelli, M., Sadler, J. D., Smith, S. D., … Spontak, R. (2018), Journal of Chemical Physics, 148(23).
Crystallization-Directed Anisotropic Electroactuation in Selectively Solvated Olefinic Thermoplastic Elastomers: A Thermal and (Electro)Mechanical Property Study
Armstrong, D. P., & Spontak, R. (2018), ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS, 28(36).
Effect of systematic hydrogenation on the phase behavior and nanostructural dimensions of block copolymers
Ashraf, A. R., Ryan, J. J., Satkowski, M. M., Smith, S. D., & Spontak, R. (2018), ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 10(4), 3186–3190.
Hierarchical Self-Assembly of Toroidal Micelles into Multidimensional Nanoporous Superstructures
Cai, J., Mineart, K. P., Li, X., Spontak, R., Manners, I., & Qiu, H. (2018), ACS MACRO LETTERS, 7(8), 1040–1045.
Incorporation of Metallic Species into Midblock-Sulfonated Block Ionomers
Deng, J., Yan, J., Tilly, J. C., Deng, L., Mineart, K. P., & Spontak, R. (2018), MACROMOLECULAR RAPID COMMUNICATIONS, 39(22).

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