Chairman, Interdepartmental Program in Polymer Engineering, Technion
After receiving his doctorate, Prof. Silverstein spent a year as a research associate at the Center for Applied Polymer Research, Department of Macromolecular Science, Case Western Reserve University. He joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Technion in 1989 and has spent sabbatical years at the Department of Engineering Physics, Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, Canada and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, USA. He is a member of the Materials Research Society, the American Chemical Society, and the Israel Polymers and Plastics Society.
Macromolecular materials, also known as polymers, are increasingly vital for advanced technological applications in such fields as microelectronics, telecommunications, biomedical engineering, energy, and aerospace. Superior materials can now be produced through the synergistic combination of very different types of materials within nanoscale blends and nanocomposites. The development of such materials depends upon innovative synthesis and processing techniques as well as upon an in-depth characterization of the resulting material. This in-depth characterization must encompass the molecular structure, crystalline structure, nanoscale morphology, thermal properties, mechanical properties, and properties that are related to the specific application of interest (e.g., conductivity, biodegradability, drug release rate).
The focus of the Macromolecular Materials Laboratory, headed by Professor Michael S. Silverstein, is the development of novel macromolecular systems with unique properties and the use of in-depth characterization to understand the relationships between the synthesis, structure, processing, and properties. Once these relationships are understood, the material properties can be “dialed-in” using the advanced synthesis and processing techniques developed in the Lab. The research in the Lab includes the synthesis of novel emulsion-templated porous materials, ‘PolyHIPEs’, within high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs). These materials can be lighter, greener, more versatile, and less expensive than the alternatives and can also be enhanced with functionalities that are otherwise unavailable.