Dr. Kyriaki Kalaitzidou focuses on manufacturing multifunctional polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) to develop energy-efficient products and processes using sustainable and environmentally friendly methods.
Dr. Kyriaki Kalaitzidou focuses on manufacturing polymeric materials and structures, including the synthesis of polymers and polymer composites, to develop energy-efficient products and processes using renewable materials and sustainable and environmentally friendly methods.
Her work takes advantage of the unique properties of nanomaterials to yield far-reaching applications, such as lightweight composites for automotive use, utilizing biodegradable polymers from renewable resources instead of petroleum-based polymers.
“Lately, I’ve been moving more into the idea of a circular economy,” said Dr. Kyriaki Kalaitzidou. “We consider how you can reuse a material, recycle it, and repurpose it to delay it from going to the landfill. We’re not quite at the level of a circular economy yet, but we do expand the service and lifetime of the material.”
With this focus in mind, Dr. Kalaitzidou’s recent work has included converting waste-trims of high-value carbon fiber prepregs from the aerospace industry into low-cost, high-performance composites for the automotive industry and recycling end-of-life wood to create structural composites for thermal insulation of buildings. By considering recyclability and reusability at the early stage of designing a material, she is able to incorporate end-of-life strategies into it, rather than leaving it as an afterthought.
“Applications vary by industry, but the question that always drives our work is: Can you make something lighter and stronger that lasts longer using fewer resources?”
Achieving sustainability via polymeric manufacturing: Using renewable materials and introducing end-of-life strategies into polymeric structures in the design/manufacturing stage
- Manufacturing polymeric materials with end-of-life strategy in mind: Synthesizing adhesives with reversible bonds to facilitate separation and retrieval of multi-layer or multi-material packaging
- Employing sustainable methods for advanced performance: Manufacturing of lightweight polymer composites for increased fuel efficiency of vehicles
- Repurposing of waste into usable material: Developing engineering composites using post-industrial waste streams as feedstocks
- Strategic Coordinator for Circularity of Biomaterials, Renewable Bioproducts Institute (2020–present)
- Associate Chair for Faculty Development, Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering (2019–present)
- Rae S. and Frank H. Neely Professor (2019–present)
- Faculty Leadership Apprentice, Office for Vice Provost for Faculty (2021)
- Provost’s Fellow for Faculty Development (2019)
- Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) Fellow (2018)
- Provost’s Emerging Leaders Program (2018)
- Woodruff Faculty Fellow (2015–2019)