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New Faculty Member, 2020–21

Timothy E. Long

Director, Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing and Professor

Timothy E. Long joins the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering as a professor serving jointly in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy and the School of Molecular Sciences in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Long also directs the Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing, a new research initiative at ASU.

Long’s research resides at the convergence of chemistry, health sciences, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering.

“This nexus of disciplines allows researchers to implement a paradigm of ‘molecules to manufacturing,’” says Long. 

The work includes synthetic polymer chemistry, biodegradable and bio-derived polymeric materials, green chemistry and sustainable engineering, and the intersection of materials design and additive manufacturing.

“I selected these areas of research and teaching based on my interest to take fundamental molecular architecture and translate this understanding at the nanoscale into electronic devices, membranes, drug delivery vehicles, adhesives, coatings and biomedical technologies that will lead to a more sustainable world,” says Long.

His initial interests in engineering focused on the response of materials to mechanical forces. More recently, Long has investigated the role of molecular structure on melt and solution rheology, which is the study of the flow of matter. 

Long says that recent advances in additive manufacturing have offered new opportunities to understand how rheology (the study of the flow of matter) dictates the printability of macromolecules in an unprecedented manner. 

“Engineering allows me to translate science to society,” says Long. “[It] enables me to implement a use-inspired fundamental research approach. Ultimately, I want to deliver technology without a compromise to earth sustainability.”

Long is excited about getting into the lab at ASU and has clear directions for what his group will accomplish.

“I want to print every molecule in our laboratories, placing molecules into complex geometries that provide unprecedented performance,” he says. “I want to print carbonaceous materials, expanding into the printing of latexes and colloids or, in other words, 3D painting. I want to develop novel hydrogel technologies that will enable safer and easier cancer therapies.”

Long will be teaching advanced polymer chemistry with a focus on green chemistry and sustainable engineering. He will also teach a course on effective communication skills for researchers, and will introduce a course on polymer design for advanced manufacturing.

He says that students should be prepared to digest recent trends in the literature, to effectively communicate both in oral and written forms, and to work together in teams to address large global challenges. 

“I enjoy class participation,” says Long. “I enjoy discussing how regional culture influences research directions, and ultimately to understand polymeric materials with a vision of structure-property-processing relationships.”

Long came to ASU with the goal of tackling today’s global challenges through work ranging from sustainable macromolecular materials to advanced manufacturing — all in an effort to reduce waste generation and the consumption of energy.

“ASU offers immense vision and commitment to improving the quantity and quality of our lives without compromising the health of our planet,” he says. 

Further, Long appreciates the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary discovery and diversity in all forms to tackle complex questions.

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