R&D Staff Member - Carbon Precursor

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Sep 11, 2020
Oct 11, 2020
Field of specialization
Energy / Fuels, Engineering
Work Function
Job Type
Full time


We are seeking an early career research scientist to preform fundamental and applied research on the polymeric precursors of carbon fibers. 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, carbon precursors and composites by conducting innovative research and development for a broad spectrum of programs. This group and the CSD has research projects that need to investigate the synthesis, structure, and dynamics of polymeric precursors of carbon fibers. The focus of an ongoing effort is to improve carbon yield and performance of the carbon fibers at lower cost. Specifically, the group is looking for dynamic early career researchers with a proven record in developing and executing carbon fiber research. The group conducts research in critical energy and/or national security mission areas such as: Transportation Materials Technologies, Wind Energy, Energy Storage, Off-Shore Oil and Gas, Industrial Processes, Aerospace and Defense, and Infrastructure.

You should have extensive hands-on experience in conducting carbon precursor synthesis, spinning and conversion work. This position is critical to the future mission of CSD in many areas of chemical and materials sciences, and we are searching for candidates that thrive in a multi-disciplinary collaborative environment.  The candidate should have excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to effectively collaborate with researchers outside of ORNL is required.

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

Research in this group has typically focused on near-term practical applications, although we will consider candidates with strong basic research backgrounds that can be closely aligned with energy applications.

  • Conduct cutting-edge carbon precursor research
  • Conduct chemical synthesis and modification of polymeric carbon precursor materials
  • Characterize precursor chemistry and morphology via spectroscopy, SEC, rheology, thermal analysis, X-ray scattering and electron microscopy
  • Develop alternative carbon precursors and methods for their processing (filament formation and high temperature carbonization).
  • Work with other researchers to characterize, test, and synthesize new materials
  • Collaborate with staff to develop new ideas and proposals to sponsors
  • Present and report research results at scientific meetings and to sponsors and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Maintain fiber spinning and conversion laboratories
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics

Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Chemistry, Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Chemical Engineering or an equivalent field.
  • A minimum of 2 years of post-doctoral research experience
  • A record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or presentations at scientific conferences
  • This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in processing fibers from polymer or oligomeric materials by melt or solution spinning
  • Experience in thermal conversion of materials to carbon
  • A deep understanding of carbon fiber structure and properties
  • Demonstrated ability to perform polymerizations including controlled radical polymerizations
  • Ability to work in a team environment and contribute to the preparation of research proposals
  • 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, set priorities, multi-task and adapt to ever changing needs to meet sponsors expectations

Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to PSDrecruit@ornl.gov.  Please include the title of the position in the subject line.

Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.
For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at jobs.ornl.gov.


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.