Research

Research in the Khan Group has focused on the rheology of structured polymeric systems, particularly the relationship between material microstructure, chemistry, and macroscopic properties. This focus has expanded to many different areas over the years, with recent work by students and post-docs in the Khan Research Group falling into the following areas:
Rheology and Tribology: The use of rheology with other techniques provides a powerful and unique combination to understand and describe the macroscopic behavior of structured systems in terms of their underlying chemistry and/or microstructure.
Crop Protection: Providing food security to the exponentially increasing global population while minimizing the use of agrochemicals and synthetic carrier polymers is amongst the greatest challenges science faces. We develop sustainable technologies to fabricate eco-friendly matrices and formulations capable of controlled and targetted release of the active ingredients. We fabricate ‘wrap & plant’ matrices, nanofibrous seed coatings, and particulate dispersions from biodegradable precursors and solvent-free fabrication. We have been using our ‘wrap & plant’ technology in yam and potato field trials in Benin and Kenya since 2015. The yield and crop quality data together with farmer’s approval is a witness to the efficacy of our approach.

 

 

Nanofiber and Aerogels: We use our expertise in electrospun nanofibers and sol-gel processing to fabricate low-density and highly porous three-dimensional self-supported nanofibrous aerogels (NFA). Interconnected fibrous network of the NFA renders them mechanically robust while increasing the internal surface area many folds as compared to conventional aerogels. We use a robust solid templating approach to construct NFA with potential applications in diverse fields such as separation, thermal insulation, sensors, acoustics, catalyst support, energy storage devices, and biomedical scaffolds for tissue engineering.
Gels and Emulsions: Starting from pharmaceutical, food to cosmetic industries the rheological characterization of gels and emulsions are of great importance. Keeping that in mind our group has been focusing to understand different gels and emulsions properties using rheological techniques. In simple words, we work to determine how comfortably we can rub moisturizers on our skin to the time required for gelation of our favorite jello dessert.
Past Research AreasPrevious research topics span across a wide range of topics including: UV crosslinking, CO2 plasticized polymer processing, to novel water repellant coatings. Previous research areas emphasize the breadth of the Khan Lab’s research.