Stronger than Steel - MIT Homepage Spotlight: Kaiser Talks about Next-Generation Advanced Composites for Space Travel and Beyond
What's 10,000x thinner than a human hair but 100x stronger than steel? Ashley Kaiser, a graduating Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, talks about her work with necstlab and NASA to leverage carbon nanotubes in designing stronger, tougher, and lighter materials for future space vehicles and habitats.
On June 4, 2021, Dr. Ashley Kaiser graduated with her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Commencement day was highlighted by the charge to graduates spoken by President L. Rafael Reif, who encouraged each new graduate to "hack the world - until you make the world a little more like MIT: More daring and more passionate. More rigorous, inventive and ambitious. More humble, more respectful, more generous, more kind. And because the people of MIT also like to fix things that are broken, as you strive to hack the world, please try to heal the world, too. Please help us respond to this ongoing global pandemic with wisdom, foresight, compassion and science."
Kaiser Speaks to High School Students about Materials Science and Engineering for STEAM/CVTE Career Awareness Week
As part of Hopkinton High School's Virtual STEAM/CVTE Career Awareness Week, Ashley Kaiser spoke to high school students about careers in materials science and engineering, pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies after high school, and various pathways towards working in the STEAM-related fields.
MIT engineers in necstlab report that they have developed a material that is 10 times blacker than anything previously reported, capturing at least 99.995% of incoming light. The material is made from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, or CNTs, just like an ultra-black fuzzy forest of tiny trees. The team grew these CNTs on a surface of chlorine-etched aluminum foil and also on a $2 million yellow diamond as an art piece, which was achieved in collaboration with artist Diemut Strebe and the MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology. The CNT-covered diamond was exhibited at the New York Stock Exchange, titled "The Redemption of Vanity". Image: Diemut Strebe.
MIT Materials Research Laboratory Summer Scholar Isabel Albelo Joins necstlab for High Density Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites Research
Ten Summer Scholars, through the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program, worked in faculty labs this summer on several different research projects through the MIT Materials Research Laboratory. Summer Scholar Isabel Albelo, left, and MIT graduate student Ashley Kaiser, right, hold samples from their work on polymer nanocomposites, which are comprised of vertically aligned carbon nanotube forests grown via chemical vapor deposition, densified to high volume fractions, and then infiltrated with a polymer matrix in necstlab under the supervision of Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Brian L. Wardle. Image, Denis Paiste, Materials Research Laboratory.
Kaiser Presents Doctoral Research at 22nd International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM22) in Melbourne, Australia
From August 11-16, 2019, Ashley Kaiser traveled to Melbourne, Australia to attend the 22nd International Conference on Composite Materials, where she presented her early doctoral research paper on dense aligned carbon nanotube-polymer materials in a presentation titled "Fabrication of Hierarchical Polymer Nanocomposites with Capillary-densified Aligned Carbon Nanotube Reinforcement".
Ph.D. Candidate Ashley Kaiser Featured in 2019 UMass Amherst Department of Chemical Engineering Newsletter
In July 2019, Ashley Kaiser became a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, and her graduate research was featured in the 2019 Newsletter for the UMass Amherst Department of Chemical Engineering, where she received her B.S. degree in 2017.
On June 7, 2019, Ashley Kaiser graduated with her Master of Science degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, en route to her Ph.D. degree. Commencement day was highlighted by the charge to graduates spoken by President L. Rafael Reif, who encouraged each new graduate to "hack the world - until you make the world a little more like MIT: More daring and more passionate. More rigorous, inventive and ambitious. More humble, more respectful, more generous, more kind. And because the people of MIT also like to fix things that are broken, as you strive to hack the world, please try to heal the world, too."
Featured post published by New York Magazine as part of The Cut and the online Science of Us series for a fun, scientific take on Halloween. "One dark and stormy night, Ph.D. student Ashley Kaiser was alone in the lab. [Some creative liberties have been taken.] The bats were swooping and the wind was howling. She was hard at work on her research on nanomaterials, specifically carbon nanotubes..."
As part of her materials science and engineering research on nanomaterials, PhD student Ashley Kaiser recently grew millions of carbon nanotubes - each incredibly strong and only 1/10,000 the width of a human hair - and immersed them in a guiding liquid. Upon drying, the resulting nanotube "forest" created a recognizable spooky pattern seen by scanning electron microscopy, just in time for the upcoming Halloween festivities.
Ashley Kaiser's graduate research on the capillary densification of carbon nanotube arrays was featured in a recent article about the industry applications of carbon nanotubes, which was published in the UK Chemistry and Industry (C&I) Magazine by Victoria Hattersley. From monitoring our heart rate and generating renewable energy to enabling the cost-effective, efficient, and large-scale patterning of nanomaterials, a number of novel applications for carbon nanotubes have emerged in recent months, Hattersley reports.
Two recent UMass Amherst College of Engineering and Commonwealth Honors College alumni, Ashley Kaiser (B.S., ChE, '17) and Sanghoon Lee (B.S., EE, '17), have been awarded 2018 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships. Kaiser and Lee have just finished their first year as graduate students pursuing their Ph.D. degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively.
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research have awarded 2018 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships to two graduate students in Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Brian L. Wardle's necstlab - Ashley L. Kaiser and Frederick Daso - as well as five other MIT graduate students. They are among 69 fellows nationwide offered the highly competitive award. (Feature articles by MIT News and the MIT Materials Research Laboratory)
In their recent Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics paper, MIT researchers Ashley Kaiser and Itai Stein report new process-structure scaling relations to create predictable patterns from unpredictable carbon nanotubes. Their systematic method can predict the two-dimensional patterns that carbon nanotube arrays form after they are packed together, or densified, by evaporating liquid drops from their surface. With a primary focus on nanofiber structures, this work aims to enhance predictive design and manufacturing capabilities for nanomaterials and related microstructures. (Also featured by the MIT Materials Research Laboratory)
Kaiser's lead author paper on the process-morphology scaling relations of nanofibers was selected to appear on the front cover of the February 14, 2018 print edition of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, coinciding with Valentine's Day. Her colorized cover image shows vertically aligned carbon nanotubes forming a heart pattern as a result of their self-assembly during capillary-mediated densification.
Carbon nanotubes lower the transformation temperature of glassy carbon, possibly aiding manufacturers, MIT researchers report. Research performed by MIT graduate student (and 2016 MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar) Ashley Kaiser and postdoc Itai Stein was recently published in their Journal of Materials Science paper, showing that a small fraction of carbon nanotubes added to phenol-formaldehyde resin lowers the nanocomposite processing temperature needed to achieve the best combination of hardness and low density by 200 degrees Celsius.
Chemical Engineering (ChE) senior Ashley Kaiser is one of six UMass undergrads whose research accomplishments have been deemed "inspiring and notable" enough for the students to be honored with the Rising Researcher award in Research Next, the online magazine at UMass Amherst. The Rising Researcher award, sponsored by the Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Research and Engagement, recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity.
UMass Amherst provides undergraduate students with many opportunities to conduct research with impact. Six seniors whose research accomplishments are inspiring and notable were honored this spring with the Rising Researcher award, sponsored by Research Next at UMass Amherst.
Four College of Engineering students won William F. Field Alumni Scholar Awards, which were established in 1976 to recognize and honor third-year students for their academic achievements at UMass Amherst. The winners were juniors Timothy Adams of ECE, Lauren Gonynor of CEE, Ashley Kaiser of the Chemical Engineering Department, and Rune Percy of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. Adams, Kaiser, and Percy are also in the Commonwealth Honors College, and Kaiser was recently profiled on the College of Engineering website.
Ashley Kaiser, a junior undergraduate student from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, has packed a lot of varied accomplishment into her years as a major in the Chemical Engineering Department. She's a member of the Commonwealth Honors College with a cumulative GPA of 3.97/4.00 and has made the Dean's List from 2013 through 2015. In addition, she's a member of the UMass student chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Tau Beta Pi, and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and she spent the summer of 2015 completing an R&D internship at the 3M Corporate Research Process Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota.
UMass Amherst Materials Research Society Conference Video - Optimal Design: Interdisciplinary Teamwork from Synthesis to Production
The College of Engineering at UMass Amherst offers a new paradigm in materials research and education. It brings in students with strong backgrounds in science and engineering and trains them to work in multidisciplinary teams. Ashley Kaiser, a first-year chemical engineering student, is already pursuing interdisciplinary graphene research with Professor Christos Dimitrakopoulos. At the brink of important new discoveries and developments, UMass Amherst's researchers, educators, and students prove the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.