Bradley Chmelka

Chemical Engineering
bradc [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu

Schematic of a hydrogen fuel cell.
Schematic of a hydrogen fuel cell.

Institute Role
Member of Production & Storage Solutions Group

Bradley Chmelka’s research in nanotechnology explores new materials for energy conversion (e.g., batteries, fuel cells). His research is motivated by the need to understand at a molecular level the fabrication and functions of new catalysts, adsorbents, porous ceramics, and heterogeneous polymers. These categories of technologically important materials are linked by their crucial dependencies on local order/disorder, which often governs macroscopic process or device performance. Chmelka is broadly interested in heterogeneous solids, whose sizable variations in local ordering and dynamics have pronounced influences on the adsorption, reaction, optical, or mechanical properties of these materials. The development and application of state-of-the-art techniques of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy allow him to observe many common molecular features among these diverse systems, which provide new insights and design intuition for materials chemistry and engineering objectives.

Bradley Chmelka graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University in 1982 with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering. From 1982 to 1984 he worked as a startup engineer with Unocal Corporation at the Parachute Creek Shale Oil Project. Chmelka received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990. Postdoctoral fellowship awards from the Division of Chemistry of NSF and from the NSF-NATO Program supported his research work in applications of NMR spectroscopy to inorganic and polymeric solids at Berkeley (1990) and at the Max-Plank-Institüt fur Polymerforschung in Mainz, Germany (1991). He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Award (1996), the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award (1993), and the New Young Investigator Award from the NSF Division of Materials Research (1992). Chmelka joined the faculty at UC Santa Barbara in 1992 and is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and a faculty researcher at the Materials Research Lab.

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