475999 Investigation of Dynamics of Soft Materials to Design Multifunctional Materials

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Fatemeh Khalkhal1,2 and Susan J. Muller1, (1)Chemical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, (2)Engineering, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA

Research Interests:

My scientific interest involves extending the understanding of physics of soft materials such as colloidal suspensions, emulsions and polymer composites to design new/multifunctional materials that are more energy efficient, environmentally friendly, clinically safe and cost effective. These studies are becoming particularly challenging when inherent material properties (e.g. opaqueness, thermal stability, photobleaching, etc) limit utilization of conventional characterization techniques. Thus the nature of my research is based on simultaneous utilization of numerous characterization techniques, e.g. light scattering, optical microscopy, rheology, and microfluidics in conjunction with theoretical models. I attempt to answer fundamental questions such as how do materials’ pristine properties, the processing conditions and molecular/mesoscopic interactions affect the bulk properties? What are the mechanisms of structure formation under the influence of various parameters? What is the time scale of structural evolution under different processing conditions? How to control material bulk properties by manipulating the properties at smaller scales? To what extent do different forces contribute to transport of soft materials (such as vesicles, double emulsions, colloidal suspensions, etc.)?

As a faculty member, I would like to extend my research in the field of complex fluids to design more energy efficient transport processes (applicable in different industries) and optimize on-chip devices for cell sorting and characterization mainly used in biomedical and clinical applications.

Teaching Interests:

  • San Francisco State University (present)
    • Currently teaching: Heat Transfer, Engineering Cost Analysis, Materials and Manufacturing Processes + Lab.
  • University of California Berkeley (2014-present)
    • Defined and supervised undergraduate students in research projects including:
      • Devising an optimal microfabrication protocol using thin film lamination.
      • Particle flow velocimetry in microfluidic devices: simulation and experiments. 
  • Schlumberger Oil Field Services (2000-2005)
    • Conducted intensive technical workshops (40 hrs/lecture) for diversified oil and gas professionals in the following subjects:
      • Production Data Management
      • Well Performance, Pipeline and Facilities and Network Analysis
      • Production Optimization
      • Risk and Value Management


1) Khalkhal, F., K. Chaney, S. Muller, "Optimization and application of dry film photoresist for rapid, low cost fabrication of high aspect ratio microfluidic devices", J. Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (submitted).

2) Khalkhal, F.and S. Muller, "Formation of inertio-elastic vortices of a shear thinning fluid in planar microfluidic abrupt contractions", (journal article in preparation).

3) Khalkhal, F., M. Hwang, S. Muller, "Inertial and non-inertial migration of double emulsion droplets in wall-bounded shear flow", (journal article in preparation).

4) Ren, F., S. A. Kanaan, F. Khalkhal, C. Z. Loebick, G. L. Haller and L. D. Pfefferle (2013), "Controlled cutting of single-walled carbon nanotubes and low temperature annealing", Carbon (63), pages 61-70.

5) Khalkhal, F. and P. J. Carreau (2012) "Critical shear rates and structure build-up at rest in MWCNT suspensions", J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 171-172, pages 56-66.

6) Khalkhal, F., Characterization of flow-induced structures in carbon nanotube suspensions, Ph.D. thesis, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Montreal, 2011.

7) Khalkhal, F. and P. J. Carreau (2011), "Scaling behavior of the elastic properties of non-dilute MWCNT-epoxy suspensions", Rheologica Acta 50(9), 717-728.

8) Khalkhal, F., P. J. Carreau and G. Ausias (2011), "Effect of flow history on linear viscoelastic properties and the evolution of the structure of MWCNT suspensions in an epoxy", J. Rheology 55(1),153-175.

Successful grant writing experience:

Postdoc Fellowship: Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Nature et Technologies (FQRNT), 2014 to 2016.

Web page:


Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded