Ramanan Krishnamoorti, assistant professor of chemical engineering, was among three University of Houston professors to receive the Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award. This award, which carries a $3,000 stipend and a plaque, is given to an individual who has achieved preeminence in his or her field.
Defying traditional methods of production sums up the type of research that Krishnamoorti has been involved in at the University of Houston. He explores ways in which new materials can improve existing products. Currently, he is researching how certain types of polymers can help produce a better tire. The result could be a more lightweight tire that lasts longer and is usable for a certain amount of time after being punctured.
“People have been trying to do this for more than 50 years, but we go one step further. We try to use something different and mix different combinations to make the product lighter,” he said.
And in doing so, Krishnamoorti delves into using nanoscopic materials that often can’t be seen with the human eye. Using a smaller amount of these tiny materials could result in the desired product—lightweight tires.
Krishnamoorti also takes his expertise in polymeric research directly to his students. He takes a hands-on approach and spends time in the laboratory training and guiding students in research, stated one of his colleagues in a letter of nomination.
“He exemplifies excellence in research and teaching in the area of polymeric materials,” one of his nominators stated in a letter.
He also has developed a new course to introduce students to the fundamentals of polymer science.
“I take everyday items, such as a Walkman, and then explain to students how the different types of plastic used to produce it are specifically used for a certain purpose because of their properties and strengths,” he said.
Krishnamoorti has been at UH since 1996. He earned his bachelors degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras in 1988 and his doctorate in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1994. He has done postdoctoral work at Cornell University and the California Institute of Technology.