Rich Spontak


  • 919-515-4200
  • Engineering Building I (EB1) 2088E

Richard J. Spontak was a research scientist with Procter & Gamble before he joined the NCSU faculty in 1992. Spontak has over 104 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and his work has been featured on the cover of Microsc. Res. Tech. and Langmuir.

Spontak conducts studies to improve the current understanding of microstructural polymer systems, which are of scientific interest as self-assembling polymers and commercial value as adhesives, (bio)compatibilizing agents, nanotemplates, and membranes. His group’s efforts are at the cutting edge of block copolymer research: e.g., they have obtained the first 3D images of the bicontinuous gyroid (Ia3d) and sponge (L3) morphologies. They characterize polymers with electronspectroscopic microscopy, and dispersions/gels with freeze-fracture replication and cryo-TEM techniques. Use of these tools has expedited the study of block copolymers and their blends/gels, and has helped to elucidate novel polymer gelation mechanisms, PDLC composition/morphology relationships, and interpolymer complexation. Other areas of interest include polymer alloying through mechanical attrition, transmission electron microtemography, and modification of polymer solutions via salting-in.


Ph.D. 1988

Chemical Engineering

University of California at Berkeley

B.S. 1983

Chemical Engineering

Pennsylvania State University

Research Description

Dr. Spontak's research interests include effects of homo/copolymer blending, molecular architecture, monomer sequencing, and solvation on the phase behavior of microstructural polymer systems.


Molecular dynamics study of polystyrene-b-poly(ethylene oxide) asymmetric diblock copolymer systems
Dobies, M., Makrocka-Rydzyk, M., Jenczykt, J., Jarek, M., Spontak, R. J., & Jurga, S. (2017), Langmuir, 33(36), 8856-8868.
Bicomponent block copolymers derived from one or more random copolymers as an alternative route to controllable phase behavior
Ashraf, A. R., Ryan, J. J., Satkowski, M. M., Lee, B., Smith, S. D., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 38(17).
Designing dielectric elastomers over multiple length scales for 21st century soft materials technologies
Armstrong, D. P., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), Rubber Chemistry and Technology, 90(2), 207-224.
Bottlebrush elastomers: A promising molecular engineering route to tunable, prestrain-free dielectric elastomers (conference presentation)
Vatankhah-Varnosfaderani, M., Daniel, W. F. M., Zhushma, A. P., Li, Q. X., Morgan, B. J., Matyjaszewski, K., Armstrong, D. P., Dobrynin, A. V., Sheyko, S. S., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), In Electroactive polymer actuators and devices (eapad) 2017. (Proceedings of SPIE-the International Society for Optical Engineering, 10163).
Inherently pre-strained elastomers with self-healing property: New generation of freestanding electroactuators (conference presentation)
Vatankhah-Varnosfaderani, M., Sheyko, S. S., Matyjaszewski, K., Daniel, W. F. M., Li, Q. X., Morgan, B. J., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), In Electroactive polymer actuators and devices (eapad) 2017. (Proceedings of SPIE-the International Society for Optical Engineering, 10163).
Adhesion and friction in polymer films on solid substrates: Conformal sites analysis and corresponding surface measurements
An, R., Huang, L. L., Mineart, K. P., Dong, Y. H., Spontak, R. J., & Gubbins, K. E. (2017), Soft Matter, 13(19), 3492-3505.
Hydrothermal conditioning of physical hydrogels prepared from a midblock-sulfonated multiblock copolymer
Mineart, K. P., Dickerson, J. D., Love, D. M., Lee, B., Zuo, X. B., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 38(5).
Molecular and morphological characterization of midblock-sulfonated styrenic triblock copolymers
Mineart, K. P., Ryan, J. J., Lee, B., Smith, S. D., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), Journal of Polymer Science. Part B, Polymer Physics, 55(6), 490-497.
Effect of polyelectrolyte on the barrier efficacy of layer-by-layer nanoclay coatings
Soltani, I., Smith, S. D., & Spontak, R. J. (2017), Journal of Membrane Science, 526, 172-180.
Bottlebrush elastomers: a new platform for freestanding electroactuation
Vatankhah-Varnoosfaderani, M., Daniel, W. F. M., Zhushma, A. P., Li, Q. X., Morgan, B. J., Matyjaszewski, K., Armstrong, D. P., Spontak, R. J., Dobrynin, A. V., & Sheiko, S. S. (2017), Advanced Materials, 29(2).

View all publications via NC State Libraries


EMN-15-F-S-01 Molecular Modeling of Amines for Gas Sweetening
Eastman Chemical Company(4/01/16 - 12/31/17)
EMN-15-S-01 Applications of Nanocellulose in Waterborne Coatings Systems
Eastman Chemical Company(1/01/16 - 12/31/18)
EMN-14-F-S-06: Phase-Change Gels Designed for Laminated Products for Use in Home and Office Settings
Eastman Chemical Company(1/01/16 - 3/31/17)
EMN-13-F-S-06 Structure-Property-Process Relationships for Polyester Polyols
Eastman Chemical Company(12/01/14 - 12/31/17)
Magnetically-Driven Orientation of Multiphase Polymer Systems: A Ligand-Functionalized, Magnetic Nanoparticle Approach
National Science Foundation (NSF)(5/01/10 - 4/30/14)
In-Plane Nanostructural Organization of Copolymer Molecules Along Polymer/Polymer Interfaces
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/01/08 - 7/31/10)
Processing and Characterization of Nanofiber - PVC Soft Composite for Electronic Applications
National Science Foundation (NSF)(4/01/07 - 12/31/11)
Nanostructures in Copolymer Materials: Synthesizing a Predictive Model from Experimental 3-D Imaging
Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT)(10/16/06 - 10/15/07)
Utilization of Transmission Electron Microtomography (TEMT)
National Institute of Standards & Technology(8/25/06 - 8/24/07)
Acquisition of a Nanoindenter for Research and Education on Novel Complex Materials
National Science Foundation (NSF)(9/01/05 - 8/31/06)