Ryan Van Horn

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Chemistry
Degrees: B.S. (chemical engineering), Lafayette College; Ph.D. (polymer science), University of Akron

Contact Info

Email: rvanhorn@allegheny.edu
Phone: (814) 332-5352
Website: Click here

Office Info

Office Location: Doane Hall of Chemistry C.117
Office Hours: M 2:30-4:30 pm; T 1:30-4:30 pm; W 9-10:30 am

Research Interests

My research interests are in the physical characterization and structure-property relationships of polymers, including thermodynamics of phase behavior in tertiary, binary, and single-component systems. Typical characterization techniques include FT-IR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) and DSC (differential scanning calorimetry).

Current research focuses on the crystallization of poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(caprolactone) (PEO-b-PCL) copolymers. PEO-b-PCL is a biocompatible, biodegradable copolymer. The degradation and mechanical properties are strongly dependent on the microstructure. Each block is capable of crystallizing; however, their melting temperatures are very similar. As such, other factors, such as casting solvent and thermal history, play an important role in the crystallization behavior.  By controlling the crystallization behavior, it is possible to tailor these properties, either strength or degradation time/amount, for specific applications. By understanding the fundamental development of crystals in these materials, these concepts can be applied to other biocompatible, biodegradable copolymer systems.