R&D Associate - Sustainable Polymers

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Aug 14, 2019
Sep 13, 2019
Field of specialization
Engineering, Materials, Polymers
Work Function
Job Type
Full time

Overview:  We are seeking an early career researcher to support our research efforts in the synthesis, processing and characterization of new sustainable polymers, adhesives, and organic/inorganic hybrid materials. This position resides in the Carbon and Composites Group in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).   


The Carbon and Composites Group advances the science and technology base for manufacturing of polymeric materials and composites by conducting innovative research and development for a broad spectrum of programs and applications. This research position will focus on experimental studies on the synthesis, characterization and processability of sustainable polymers, gels, reinforced composites and nanocomposites. The interfacial activity of amphiphilic oligomers will be used to tailor the morphology of thermoplastic elastomers. Additionally, this research will employ polymer synthesis and reactive extrusion methods to produce polymers tailored to a variety of applications and processes. Materials will be characterization by a variety of techniques including NMR, GPC, DMA, TGA, DSC, SEM, rheology, x-ray, neutron and dynamic light scattering, and tensile testing.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Conduct synthesis and characterization of new polymers and chemical modification of polymeric materials
  • Establish structure-property-processability relationships
  • Develop methods to modify the interface of an immiscible binary system of liquids or polymer melts
  • Optimize the properties of polymer materials by tuning the morphologies with sustainable materials at the interface
  • Create new materials with kinetically trapped non-equilibrium morphology
  • Characterize polymeric and organic/inorganic hybrid materials by a variety of methods including NMR, GPC, thermal and mechanical analysis, light, x-ray and neutron scattering, microscopy, rheology, optical spectroscopy, and data analysis
  • Work in a collaborative team environment and regularly interact with senior scientists, program managers, group members, and industrial partners
  • Present and report research results and publishing scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner, after intellectual property has been protected  
  • Work with team members on the development of new ideas and proposal for future funding
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethic


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering, Polymer Physics, Polymer Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, or a closely related field
  • At least two years of post-PhD science and/or engineering research experience


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Expertise in multiphase polymer synthesis, processing and characterization
  • Experience in monitoring interfacial activity of additives in multiphase systems
  • Expertise is structural characterization of materials and analysis of x-ray, neutron, and light scattering data
  • Experience in the processing of polymers (extruding, spinning, etc.)_
  • Expertise in thermal analysis and mechanical testing of polymers and polymer composites
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • Motivated and safety conscious
  • Ability to work independently and an ability to participate creatively in a collaborative team environment.
  • Ability to work on multiple tasks in a limited amount of time and to independently set priorities to accomplish numerous tasks to meet deadlines.


Special Requirement:

Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.  Three letters of reference are required and can be emailed directly to PSDrecruit@ornl.gov.  Please include the title of the position and your name in the subject line.



This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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