In the last century, the development, proliferation, and refinement of organic long-chain polymers, and the ability to process them into useful shapes have revolutionized materials science and technology. Within the last 20 years or so, discoveries in molecular and nano-scale biology have revealed a miniaturized world of polymer processing, down to the processing of single molecules. Knowledge and techniques developed for biology are now increasingly being exploited to improve the understanding and improvement of the processing of commercial polymeric materials. In return, techniques developed for modeling synthetic polymers are now also being applied to biological polymers. Examples of this synergy will be drawn from the author’s work on synthetic polymer molecular deformation in processing flows, manipulating DNA for biophysical studies, protein target searching on DNA, and understanding the swimming of flagellated bacteria.
Sponsored by the Chemical Engineering department.