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New Faculty Member, 2020–21

Kailong Jin

Assistant Professor

Kailong Jin’s career aspirations were first sparked as a youngster working on household repair projects with his father, an engineer.

From those practical experiences, Jin recalls, he eventually got “hooked on engineering, because it gives us the ability to turn our imagination into reality.”

He would later see that possibility in chemical engineering and its potential to improve life by overcoming many of the world’s technological challenges.

Today, Jin’s research focuses on engineering next-generation plastics.

“As a major chemical product, plastics are widely used in automobiles, sports, construction, medical devices, food packaging and energy harvesting, among many other fields,” Jin says, but adds that plastics are also are a source of problems.

In the development of today’s plastics, “there has been a lack of strategies for incorporating recyclability into the material design while maintaining the overall performance equal to or better than those of the current plastics,” he says.

The result has been massive accumulations of discarded plastics around the world that pose a threat to environmental health.

Jin specializes in polymer science and engineering, specifically the design and manufacturing of recyclable plastics and composites.

Progress in his research pursuits, “could help address the plastic waste and pollution problems facing our society today and lead to a more sustainable world,” he says,

Students in his classes can expect to be challenged to understand fundamental engineering concepts but also how to apply the knowledge to real-world engineering endeavors.

Jin is excited about getting opportunities to work with a “strong” chemical engineering faculty and in collaborative “world-class” research programs at Arizona State University.

Jin’s skills have already brought him recognition early in his career. He earned the Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award from Northwestern University and the Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award from the Dow Chemical Company. His recent postdoctoral work on recycling polyurethane foam waste has been reported in C&EN news, Materials Today and other research news articles.

After earning his doctoral degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University in Illinois in 2017 and spending the years since as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota, Jin says he’s ready to leave the cold weather for a warmer climate.  

For recreation, Jin plays basketball and tennis. He plans to take up golf now that he’s in sunny Arizona, where he will very likely have to give up the ice fishing hobby he began in Minneapolis.

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