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.


Preparation of cellulose nanofibrils for imaging purposes: Comparison of liquid cryogens for rapid vitrification
Torstensen, J. O., Johnsen, P. O., Riis, H., Spontak, R. J., Deng, L. Y., Gregersen, O. W., & Syverud, K. (2018), Cellulose, 25(8), 4269-4274.
Communication: Molecular-level description of constrained chain topologies in multiblock copolymer gel networks
Tuhin, M. O., Woloszczuk, S., Mineart, K. P., Pasquinelli, M. A., Sadler, J. D., Smith, S. D., Banaszak, M., & Spontak, R. J. (2018), Journal of Chemical Physics, 148(23).
Ordering and grain growth in charged block copolymer bulk films: A comparison of solvent-related processes
Ryan, J. J., Mineart, K. P., Lee, B., & Spontak, R. J. (2018), Advanced Materials Interfaces, 5(8).
Nafion/IL hybrid membranes with tuned nanostructure for enhanced CO2 separation: Effects of ionic liquid and water vapor
Dai, Z. D., Ansaloni, L., Ryan, J. J., Spontak, R. J., & Deng, L. Y. (2018), Green Chemistry, 20(6), 1391-1404.
Swelling and free-volume characteristics of TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibril films
Torstensen, J. O., Liu, M., Jin, S. A., Deng, L. Y., Hawari, A. I., Syverud, K., Spontak, R. J., & Gregersen, O. W. (2018), Biomacromolecules, 19(3), 1016-1025.
Quasi-solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells containing a charged thermoplastic elastomeric gel electrolyte and hydrophilic/phobic photosensitizers
Al-Mohsin, H. A., Mineart, K. P., Armstrong, D. P., El-Shafei, A., & Spontak, R. J. (2018), Solar RRL, 2(3).
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. J. (2018), ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 10(4), 3186-3190.
Complex phase behavior and network characteristics of midblock-solvated triblock copolymers as physically cross-linked soft materials
Woloszczuk, S., Tuhin, M. O., Gade, S. R., Pasquinelli, M. A., Banaszak, M., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9(46), 39940-39944.
Nanoscale considerations responsible for diverse macroscopic phase behavior in monosubstituted isobutyl-POSS/poly(ethylene oxide) blends
Caydamli, Y., Yildirim, E., Shen, J. L., Fang, X. M., Pasquinelli, M. A., Spontak, R. J., & Tonelli, A. E. (2017), Soft Matter, 13(46), 8672-8677.
Molecular dynamics study of polystyrene-b-poly(ethylene oxide) asymmetric diblock copolymer systems
Dobies, M., Makrocka-Rydzyk, M., Jenczykt, J., Jarek, M., Spontak, R. J., & Jurga, S. (2017), Langmuir, 33(36), 8856-8868.

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