ChEMS Seminar: Molecular-scale Investigation of Advanced Structural Materials
Scarlett Widgeon, Ph.D
University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara
Structural materials, such as ceramics, cement, and composites are very important for the advancement and sustainability of our society. Development of new synthesis and characterization techniques yield nanoscale materials that provide advantages in function when they replace traditional ceramics due to intermolecular interactions that occur at solid-liquid or solid-solid interfaces. To further advance technologies and devices, the structure of such new materials must be well understood to predict and determine properties that need to be enhanced or suppressed. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a powerful technique and has the ability to probe molecular structures that can be correlated to one another to identify intermolecular interactions that occur on surfaces and interfaces. This talk will focus on structural investigations of crystalline dicalcium silicate nanoparticles used for greener cementitious materials and high temperature ceramic materials. Inter-molecular and interfacial interactions are given particular attention to identify important bonding and structure that influence the important technological properties.
Bio: Scarlett Widgeon is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of California, Santa Barbara, Chemical Engineering Department. She received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of New Mexico and a doctorate from the University of California, Davis, in materials science and engineering. Her dissertation research focused on the structures and interfaces in polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs), which are nanocomposite ceramics that are synthesized by pyrolysis of silicon-based preceramic polymers. The research carried out during her postdoctoral fellowship includes the investigation of the hydration behavior of cementitious materials, where emphasis is placed on the solid-liquid interfaces between dicalcium silicate and water. She is particularly interested in molecular scale interactions at interfaces that influence macroscopic properties of important ceramic and inorganic materials.