Honorable Mention - Dmitriy Dikin

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Research Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Carbon black nanoparticles have been used in car tires for decades. Because of their size and superior properties, they can withstand the extreme temperatures, speed and grip that tires encounter on a daily basis. But only in the last ten years have researchers really begun to examine how these nanoparticles interact with each other and with rubber polymers. This knowledge will lead to the more efficient design and production of new materials.

In this image, the blue dots are the carbon black nanoparticles, and the black area is the rubber polymer. The orange is a thin metal coating used to stabilize the material during analysis. In this instance, the metal film ruptured to reveal the nanoparticles beneath.