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.


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. J., & Deng, L. (2019), JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE, 570, 455–463.
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., … Spontak, R. J. (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. J. (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. J. (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. J., 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. J. (2018), MACROMOLECULAR RAPID COMMUNICATIONS, 39(22).
Modeling Polymer Glass Transition Properties from Empirical Monomer Data with the SAFT-gamma Mie Force Field
Pervaje, A. K., Tilly, J. C., Inglefield, D. L., Spontak, R. J., Khan, S. A., & Santiso, E. E. (2018), MACROMOLECULES, 51(23), 9526–9537.
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.
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).
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.

View all publications via NC State Libraries