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.


Photodynamic Coatings on Polymer Microfibers for Pathogen Inactivation: Effects of Application Method and Composition
Peddinti, B. S. T., Morales-Gagnon, N., Pourdeyhimi, B., Scholle, F., Spontak, R. J., & Ghiladi, R. A. (2021), ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 13(1), 155–163.
Rapid and Repetitive Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and Human Coronavirus on Self-Disinfecting Anionic Polymers
Peddinti, B. S. T., Downs, S. N., Yan, J., Smith, S. D., Ghiladi, R. A., Mhetar, V., … Spontak, R. J. (2021), ADVANCED SCIENCE.
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.
Gas-separation and physical properties of ABA triblock copolymers synthesized from polyimide and hydrophilic adamantane derivatives
Ito, T., Shiota, R., Taniguchi, N., Spontak, R. J., & Nagai, K. (2020), POLYMER, 202.
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.
Optimization of the Rubber Formulation for Footwear Applications from the Response Surface Method
Srewaradachpisal, S., Dechwayukul, C., Chatpun, S., Spontak, R. J., & Thongruang, W. (2020), POLYMERS, 12(9).
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.

View all publications via NC State Libraries