Dennis Kalman

Career Plans

I am a research scientist, with a BS and PhD in chemical engineering, currently looking for full time positions in applied research and development. An ideal position for me would be in research that is more product based and market facing, such as product development, but I will be happy as long as I am doing work that can have an impact for a company. I have a broad range of experiences, primarily in colloid and polymer science and rheology, which are outlined below and in my resumé.


Graduate Work at The University of Delaware

My graduate work has been in suspension rheology as part of an Army Research Office (ARO) funded project on shear thickening fluid (STF) armor, advised by Prof. Norman Wagner. The idea behind the project is that concentrated particle suspensions generally show interesting and varied rheological behavior, including shear thickening (where the fluid viscosity rises with increasing shear rate or stress). This shear thickening can be mild or can be so extreme as to cause damage to industrial equipment used to pump or process these materials. This extreme shear thickening behavior can be advantageous in a number of materials, particularly protective body armor. The project includes fundamental work: measuring the underlying microstructure or particle rearrangements under shear flow that cause the varied rheology. In addition to the fundamental work on suspension rheology and microstructure, we investigate the use of these materials in the Liquid Armor application.


We have been successful via USANS (ultra small angle neutron scattering) and SANS (small angle neutron scattering) at measuring the microstructure of near hard-sphere colloidal dispersions under steady shear flow. USANS allows us to measure the microstructure of the 500nm particles used in the body armor application, for comparison to our work in SANS, which requires smaller particles. SANS allows us to measure 3-d microstructural changes in the actual shear plane, which shows us the thermodynamic forces which control shear thinning as well as the hydrodynamic forces that control shear thickening. This work has impact in improving the theory and predictive control of concentrated suspensions.

In addition to the fundamental rheology and colloid work, we are working to improve the Liquid Armor technology. Shear thickening colloidal suspensions have been added to Kevlar fabric to improve the ballistic and stab properties. The shear thickening itself has been implicated in this improvement, but the mechanism for improvement of a suspension in a woven fabric is complicated. We have tested materials with dry particles as well as shear thickening suspensions and found that the viscous stress transfer does improve the product performance. In addition, particle hardness is vital to maximizing the performance - the hard silica particles lock into the Kevlar filaments and change the ballistic failure mechanism from yarn pull-out to fiber breakage (instead of being limited by fabric friction, now we are limited by yarn strength).


This project required development of significant wet lab skills, including rheology and colloid characterization methods, making and testing composite fabrics for ballistic and stab properties, and small angle neutron scattering (SANS) for characterization of the fluid microstructure under shear. In addition, this project is highly collaborative with numerous PhD scientists at the University of Delaware and other universities, multiple graduate students and undergraduate students working on various aspects of the project.


Undergraduate Research at Georgia Institute of Technology

At Georgia Tech, I worked for Prof. Joseph Schork on a biogel wound dressing. This material was a liquid bandage (we were working on it in 2001-2003, before liquid bandages became common). The goal was to use some aspects of miniemulsion polymerization to develop a liquid bandage. I made various batch reactions in mimiemulsions, emulsion, and solution polymerization, did various post-processing and material characterization, and sent the materials on to our collaborators at the Air Force Research Lab for biological testing. In a separate project, I did organic chemistry to produce RAFT agents for polymerization reactions for a post doctorate student's research efforts in miniemulsion polymerization.


Research and Engineering Experience at Kimberly Clark Corp

I also worked at Kimberly Clark Corporation as a co-op for 5 terms, in both process engineering and product development roles with nonwoven fabrics. My first term, in LaGrange, GA, I worked on a construction/new startup machine to make an elastic fabric, typically used in diaper side panels. As my first true industrial engineering experience, I came to understand the various aspects of the planned machine and in the end, developed our process check-out manual and data sheets. This process check-out manual is necessary for process engineers to do their final, pre-startup testing on the equipment (determine pump flow curves, die heating and temperature profiles, integrated equipment analysis, etc.) In addition, developing the data sheets in conjunction with the manual ahead of time allowed for quick analysis of the data. In a second process engineering experience at the same mill, I worked on a running machine with a small construction addition, assisting in day-to-day improvements and process check-outs of the small addition.


I also worked in product development on medical products in Fort Worth, TX. In this role, I utilized my previous experience with the nonwoven fabrics capabilities of the company to develop a new face mask concept, leading to an internal Invention Disclosure. I then moved to Roswell, GA for two terms working with the Nonwovens Fabrics business group to apply KC's nonwovens processes typically used for diaper and medical products to a new business area, acoustic fabrics. I worked on growing the company's understanding of the acoustic fabric business, understanding what tests we needed to do and what materials might be useful, and I even worked with potential customers on developing materials to fit their needs in the automotive industry. This work ended with an internally published KC technical report.


Other Research and Engineering Experience

I have always been a problem solver searching for new experiences to grow my knowledge base. Before starting formal engineering training, I started working on cars. I have done both regular maintenance on my personal vehicles as well as custom fabrication work for performance add-ons. Most of my experience is with Nissans, especially the 240SX, and motorcycles (I've had a Kawasaki Ninja 250 and Suzuki V-Strom). When I lived in Atlanta, I worked with a custom fabricator to develop a completely custom turbo kit for the 240SX, using my vehicle to prototype and test new ideas. We really pushed the envelope on what could be done, coming up with multiple unique solutions to improve the performance that other people had not found. (First to test and publish information on Nissan forums about using blow-through MAFS in turbo setups to solve the blow-off valve metered air loss issue and first to figure out how to use an exhaust cam as an intake cam without repinning to get better performance.)


Additional Experience - 3 Brother's Bakery

In High School, I worked at 3 Brother's Bakery as a sales clerk and delivery driver at the premier Houston bakery. Duties included taking and preparing orders for customers, filling in showcases, final preparation of baked goods (slicing bread, cutting cake slices, decorating cakes and slices), delivering baked good orders including wedding cakes, and some cake decorating.