Core Faculty

Kenneth Shull

Kenneth Shull

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

2220 Campus Drive

Cook Hall 2036; Office - Cook 2083

Evanston, IL 60208

k-shull( at )


Ph.D. Materials Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

M.S. Electronic Materials, MIT, Cambridge, MA

B.S. Materials Science, MIT, Cambridge, MA

Research Interests

Our focus is on the properties of polymer surfaces and interfaces, with an emphasis on the adhesion of "soft materials." Examples range from traditional pressure-sensitive adhesives (sticky tape) to highly specialized polymeric gels commonly used in biomedical applications.

There is little understanding of the relationship in these systems between polymer adhesion and the structure of the interface on molecular or submolecular scale. We seek to make this connection through studies of well-characterized model systems synthesized in our own lab and through carefully designed fracture mechanics experiments.

Related problems of interest to us include polymer/inorganic composites and the origins of adhesion and mechanical response in biological systems.

Significant Recognition

  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 2002
  • NSF Young Investigator Award, 1994–99
  • Department Teacher of the Year, 1995
  • McCormick Adviser of the Year, 1998

Selected Publications

  • Lenhart, Joseph L.; Mrozek, Randy A.; Shull, Kenneth R.; Otim, Kathryn J., “Challenges for implementing polymer gels in defense applications”, Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series, (2013)
  • Shull, Kenneth R.; Martin, Elizabeth J.; Pourzal, Robin; Mathew, Mathew T., “Dominant role of molybdenum in the electrochemical deposition of biological macromolecules on metallic surfaces”, Langmuir, (2013)
  • Shull, Kenneth R.; Laprade, Evan J.; Long, Rong; Pham, Jonathan T.; Lawrence, Jimmy, “Large deformation and adhesive contact studies of axisymmetric membranes”, Langmuir, (2013)
  • Torkelson, John M.; Evans, Christopher M.; Shull, Kenneth R.; Henderson, Kevin J.; Saathoff, Jonathan D., “Simultaneous determination of critical micelle temperature and micelle core glass transition temperature of block copolymer-solvent systems via pyrene-label fluorescence”, Macromolecules, (2013)
  • Shull, Kenneth R.; Denolf, Garret C.; Haack, Larry; Holubka, Joe; Straccia, Ann, “Axisymmetric peel test for adhesion measurement of polymer coatings”, Journal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics, (2012)
  • Shull, Kenneth R., “Materials science: A hard concept in soft matter”, Nature, (2012)
  • Y. S. Velichko, J. R. Mantei, R. Bitton, D. Carvajal, K. R. Shull and S. I. Stupp, “Electric Field Controlled Self-Assembly of Hierarchically Ordered Membranes”, Advanced Functional Materials, (2012)
  • K. O. Hewlett, J. L'hote-Gaston, M. Radler and K. R. Shull, “Direct measurement of the time-dependent mechanical response of HPMC and PEO compacts during swelling”, International journal of pharmaceutics, (2012)

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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