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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Polymer Chemist

Date: Nov 24, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9354 


We are seeking two Postdoctoral Research Associates who will focus on the design of adhesive polymers and high-performance composites for both fundamental studies and applied research. These positions reside in the Soft Matter and Membranes Group in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) in collaboration with the Building Envelope Group, which is part of the Energy and Transportation Science Division (ETSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


The research will focus on the design, synthesis, and characterization of elastic, adhesive polymers, and polymeric micro-capsules for novel sealants/adhesives for wood in building construction and establish the structure-property relationship. The candidate is expected to develop pathways to the design of sustainable adhesive polymers using renewable feedstocks. Moreover, the research will also focus on the development of tough, high-performance composites including carbon fiber-based and mixed plastics-asphalt blends. The research will entail: the synthesis of well-defined polymers and the crosslinking reaction of organic molecules, along with their structural characterization including NMR, DSC, TGA, and their mechanical characterizations using tensile testing, DMA, and rheology; synthesis of polymeric micro-capsules, their characterization using SEM with further integration into technologies such as sealants; surface treatment of carbon fiber towards the improvement of interfacial interaction with polymer matrix, etc. This research will be complemented by collaborations and interactions with polymer physicists and experts in building envelope technology, whose research is focused on polymer characterization and their use in buildings.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Design and synthesis of well-defined adhesive polymers via various polymerization techniques
  • Functionalize biobased building blocks and develop sustainable adhesive formulations
  • Develop a range of carbon fiber-based composites
  • Synthesize polymeric compatibilizers to improve the miscibility of recycled polymers
  • Mechanical property test and morphology characterization of polymeric materials
  • Study the structure-property relationships of elastic polymers, including morphology, dynamics, and mechanical properties using various techniques.
  • Presenting and reporting research results and publishing scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering, Polymer Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, or closely related fields completed in the last 5 years
  • Expertise in polymer synthesis, characterization, and manufacturing methods


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge and expertise in the synthesis of polymers and resin formulation
  • Knowledge and expertise in mechanical and viscoelastic characterization of polymers, composites, and polymer solutions
  • Knowledge and expertise in biomass-derived or recycling polymeric materials
  • Knowledge and expertise in building envelope application and other practical applications such as materials for vehicles
  • Knowledge and expertise in polymer morphology and their characterization techniques such as DLS, SEM and TEM
  • Self-motivated, with the ability to work independently to accomplish project goals
  • Participate creatively in solving problems and refining projects directions
  • Work collaboratively in a team environment and interact effectively with a broad range of colleagues
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
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  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


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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.

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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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