The 2009-2011 research program: Polymer Blends for Fuel Cell Technologies
Interns made and characterized polymer blends, mixtures of two polymers, poly(vinylidene fluoride), PVDF,
and poly(4,5-vinyl imidizole), PVIm, protonated with a liquid ionic salt, for ultimate use as novel proton exchange
membranes for fuel cell technologies. They fabricated films, electro-spun fibers, and/or oriented tapes, and characterized
the structure and properties of the resulting materials. This research contributes to a fundamental understanding of the
effects of blend composition and thermal treatment on crystal structure of blends, and ultimately on the potential of these
new materials to serve as proton exchange membranes for hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
The internship comprises both classroom learning and laboratory exercises, all of which are taught by Tufts
University faculty. In the classroom portion, the students learn: 1. chemistry, physics, and engineering aspects of polymers
and blends; 2. scientific methods and how to conduct research; 3. communication skills, including scientific writing and making
group presentations. Professional interpreters are provided during the classroom sessions. In the laboratory portion, the
students gain hands-on experience in making, characterizing, and analyzing blends. Students work in small teams and learn to
operate the X-ray diffractometer, thermal calorimeter, infrared spectrometer, and electro-spinning apparatus. The interns design
experiments, collect data, and analyze their results. The goal is to provide an enriching experience that will strengthen the
students' confidence to perform in a scientific and engineering environment. Follow this
link to see photos of the students presenting their research results at conferences.
For 2013, several projects are available to the Interns, including electrospun polymer fibers for guided growth of neurons;
mathematical modeling of liquid crystals for advanced touch screen displays; polymer-based nanofibrous composites, using multi-walled
carbon nanotubes and graphene mixed with polymers for multi-directional reinforcement; and characterization of hernia repair materials for
surgical use in the developing world nations.
How to apply for 2013 Internships
When: July 2 – August 9, 2013 (coinciding with the Second Summer Session at Tufts University)
Where: Science-Technology Center, Room 208, Tufts University, 4 Colby St., Medford, MA 02155
What is provided: The four selected interns will receive a stipend of $2700 for the six weeks,
and 0.5 credits from Tufts University. In addition, tuition for the 0.5 credits, registration fee, dormitory housing costs, and a small food
allowance will be provided to the four interns.
Interns must provide for their own travel to and from Tufts University in Medford, MA.
Moving-in day for dormitory housing is Monday, July 1, 2013.
Applications: Prospective interns should send by e-mail: a resume, unofficial transcript,
statement of purpose, and one letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor/teacher to Prof. Peggy Cebe, email@example.com. Deadline for receipt
of applications is March 1, 2013. However, students are encouraged to apply early, since acceptance will be on a competitive basis. Selected interns
will be notified no later than March 15, 2013.
This program is funded by the National
Science Foundation through the Polymers Program of the Division of
Materials Research, grant DMR-1206010, and formerly through DMR-0906455,