Her work utilizes the unique properties of nanomaterials to yield far-reaching applications, such as lightweight PNCs for automotive use, PNCs made from biodegradable polymers instead of petroleum-based polymers, and the substitution of synthetic oils used for lubrication and cooling in conventional machining processes.
“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 from the aerospace industry into a resource for the automotive industry and recycling end-of-life wood to create composites for the 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 multifunctional PNCs: Using nanomaterials for manufacturing multifunctional PNCs to develop products or processes for increased energy efficiency based on sustainable and environmentally friendly methods
- Using nanomaterials as coolants/lubricants: Utilizing the unique properties of nanomaterials in conventional machining processes for improved efficiency
- Designing and fabricating responsive surfaces and particles: Altering polymer geometry and properties on demand in a controllable and reversible fashion for end applications
- Manufacturing of PNCs with advanced performance: Developing lightweight PNCs for automotive applications that improve fuel efficiency, making PNCs from biodegradable polymers, and converting end-of-life wood structures into wood composites for structural/heat management applications with a negative carbon footprint
- Developing sustainable coolant/lubricant solution: Substituting synthetic oils used for lubrication and cooling in grinding or machining with aqueous dispersions of nanoplatelets
- Tailoring polymeric materials to end applications: Applying strain engineering—a robust, low-cost, and versatile method—to polymers for the first time to design and fabricate responsive surfaces and particles whose geometry and properties can be altered on demand
- Rae S. and Frank H. Neely Professor (2019)
- Michigan State University Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2005)
- Marie Curie Training Fellowship as an “Early Stage” Researcher (2004)
- Gerondelis Foundation Research Grant (2002)