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.


Anion-Specific Water Interactions with Nanochitin: Donnan and Osmotic Pressure Effects as Revealed by Quartz Microgravimetry
Jin, S.-A., Khan, S. A., Spontak, R. J., & Rojas, O. J. (2021), LANGMUIR, 9.
Cellulose nanofibers and the film-formation dilemma: Drying temperature and tunable optical, mechanical and wetting properties of nanocomposite films composed of waterborne sulfopolyesters
Jin, S.-A., Facchine, E. G., Rojas, O. J., Khan, S. A., & Spontak, R. J. (2021), JOURNAL OF COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, 9.
Mesophase characteristics of cellulose nanocrystal films prepared from electrolyte suspensions
Jin, S.-A., Facchine, E. G., Khan, S. A., Rojas, O. J., & Spontak, R. J. (2021), JOURNAL OF COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, 10.
Morphological Studies of Solution-Crystallized Thermoplastic Elastomers with Polyethylene Endblocks and a Random-Copolymer Midblock
Yan, J., Lee, B., Smith, S. D., & Spontak, R. J. (2021, September 22), MACROMOLECULAR RAPID COMMUNICATIONS, Vol. 9.
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.
Toward Universal Photodynamic Coatings for Infection Control
Ghareeb, C. R., Peddinti, B. S. T., Kisthardt, S. C., Scholle, F., Spontak, R. J., & Ghiladi, R. A. (2021), FRONTIERS IN MEDICINE, 7.
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.

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