Research

Research Interest

Ren Xie aims to develop sustainable processing methods for multifunctional polymers as next-generation polymers in the health and energy industry.

Four Research Thrusts

  • Rheology-informed advanced processing of sustainable materials
  • Re-processable electrically conductive ink for 3D printing
  • Novel thermophysical properties driven by unconventional chain architecture
  • Functional polymer gels and networks as stretchable conductors, actuators, and sensors

The materials of interest include electron-conducting polymers, bottlebrush polymers, branched polymers, self-assembled polymeric colloids, and associative polymers. Advanced 3D printing methods, such as direct ink writing and electrojet writing, are also implemented to obtain better print quality more sustainably. In situ rheological characterizations with optical and Raman capabilities provide unprecedented molecular-level insight into processing, thus guiding the designs of polymer structures and ink formulations.

Xie's group is also actively engaged in investigating the fundamental physics of polymers with unique architectures and functions by building physical models to understand their impact on chain entanglements, glass transition, crystallization, network, and liquid crystalline phase.