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Equipped with a Netzsch STA 409 CD simultaneous thermal analyzer/quadrupole mass spectrometer (STA-QMS) and a stage-mounted calorimeter with transmitted/reflected-light microscope, the lab plays an essential role in the polymer chemistry, physics, and geochemistry research programs. The main physical properties we can characterize are crystallinity, temperatures and heats of transitions, coefficient of thermal expansion, Young modulus (in static and dynamic modes), evolving gas analysis during decomposition. Our research is directed toward material science and includes three main directions:

  • low molecular weight chemicals

  • polymers

  • geological materials.




The main beneficiaries of the lab activity are UHD’s undergraduate students. In addition to getting hands on experience with top-class technology, the broad range of issues cooperative works bring to the lab gives them invaluable lessons in working on finding solutions for real-life technical problems.


The lab serves also as a center for education. I have developed upper division course 3402 Thermophysical Properties of Materials Lecture and Lab, designated also as a “W” course. The course combines the basic instruction on Thermal Analysis with the rigor the physics research demands.

Today students participating in my research represent majors across all CST: NS, Engineering and Math departments. To date, students presented 37 posters individually or as small groups in conferences at UHD and outside. Several undergraduate students have earned co-authorship of peer-reviewed papers.


Thermal Analysis Laboratory attracts international cooperation. At present five universities in Poland are exchanging students with NS for summer research.



In 2004, I joined UHD as Visiting Professor and was asked to teach College Physics, a subject based solely on experimental science. As a strong believer that to be effective as a teacher I must engage my students in research, I immediately started organizing the research lab. (At that time there was no research facility in the Physics Program at UHD, one old X-ray diffractometer needed to be dismantled as obsolete.) My efforts found strong support from my colleagues and my chair. The biggest challenge I faced was the fact that there is no Physics major at UHD and I had to organize my research in such a way that I would attract students from different groups.


The initial nucleus of the lab was the three calorimeters and polarizing optical microscope donated to UHD by Shell. Shortly I joined forces with my colleagues in submitting a grant proposal to NSF for funds to purchase the Skimmer, the instrument combining calorimetry, thermogravimetry, and mass spectrometry. This is a unique technology product on the market and UHD is one of the very few schools in the US in possession of such an instrument. With some other acquisitions and instrument donations, the lab became one of the strongest in the country and we are frequently invited to cooperate with scientists representing different areas of science and technology in both academia and industry. Such a strong position is instrumental in obtaining research and education grants from a variety of sources.

laboratory history
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