Group Members

Dr. Kendra A. Erk (cv)

- B.S. Materials Science and Engineering with Highest Distinction, Purdue University, 2006
- Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2010

Phone: (765) 494-4118
Email: erk @ purdue . edu

Prof. Erk, Jason, Travis, Eduard, Stacey, Jerome, Matt, and Anna (10/2015).

Prof. Erk, Jason, Travis, Eduard, Stacey, Jerome, Matt, and Anna (10/2015).

Current Graduate Students

  • Jason Bice (MS) - Creation and Optimization of an Ultrasound-Based Flow Visualization System for Rheophysical Investigations
  • Baishakhi Bose (PhD) - Polymeric Admixtures for Concrete Materials
  • Eduard Caicedo-Casso (PhD) - Rheology and Scalable Manufacturing of Block Polymer Solutions
  • Jerome Nash (PhD) - Interfacial Rheology of Lecithin-Stabilized Emulsions
  • Travis Thornell (PhD) - Rheophysical Investigation of Self-Assembling Polymer Gels and Solutions
  • Anna Walter (PhD) - Shear and Extensional Rheology of Polyelectrolyte and Surfactant Solutions for Enhanced Oil Recovery

Current Undergraduate Students

  • Cole Davis (MSE, 2016-present) - SAP hydrogel size characterization
  • Nicholas Macke (MSE, 2016-present) - Effects of multivalent ions on SAP hydrogels
  • Mayank Jain (MSE, 2017-present) - Rheometry of soy lecithin based materials

Click here for MSE499 requirements in the Erk group.

Interested in MSE499 research with Prof. Erk?  Send her an email and please include a 1-page resume (listing any past research experience). Get paid to do research in the summer!  Purdue Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) projects are also typically available each year. Click here for more info.


Former Graduate Students

  • Matthew Krafcik (PhD, August 2017; continuing as a Postdoctoral Research Associate) - Informing the Design of Hydrogel-Based Internal Curing Agents for Mortar: Effects of Hydrogel Chemistry on Mortar Microstructure and Mechanics
  • Stacey Kelly (MS, August 2017; now a graduate student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech) - Inverse Suspension Polymerization of Superabsorbent Polymer Hydrogels for Internally Cured Concrete
  • Lisa Murray (PhD, August 2015; now at Anton Paar USA) - Rheology of suspensions and pastes for processing applications
  • Qian Zhu (MS, May 2014; now at General Cable) - Effect of multivalent ions on the swelling and mechanical behavior of superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) for mitigation of mortar autogenous shrinkage
  • Abhishek Bawiskar (MS, May 2014; now at Sanveo, Inc.) - Shear rheological characterization of gel healing response and construction of rheo-PIV system

Former Undergraduate Students

  • Matthew Parsons (MSE, 2015-2017) - SAP hydrogel swelling in ionic solutions (overview)
  • Ziyu Cai (MSE, 2015-2016) - rheometry of polymer-salt solutions (overview)
  • Austin Beggs (MSE, 2015-2016) - size and swelling rates of SAP hydrogels (overview)
  • Hannah Woods (MSE, 2015-2016) - processing-structure-property relationships of plastics
  • Krithika Subramaniam (ChemE, 2014-2016, now at 3M) - oscillation rheology of polymer gels and solutions
  • Natalie Burgos (MSE, 2015) - mechanics of hydrogels tested in compression (overview)
  • Yuhui An (MSE, Spring 2015) - viscosity of oil-water interfaces
  • Jenni Fifer (MSE, Spring 2015) - rate and temp dependent tensile properties of different plastic materials
  • Emily Soltys (MSE, 2014-2015, now at 3M) - rheology of MgO suspensions with excess PEO (overview)
  • Morgan Rhein (MSE, 2014-2015, now at Orbital ATK) - mechanical testing of oriented polymer films (overview)
  • Ben Helfrecht (MSE, 2014, now a grad student at Purdue) - rheology of thermoreversible chocolate and fracture of hydrogels
  • Sophie Ydstie (MSE, 2013-2014, now at ArcelorMittal) - mechanical testing of oriented polymer films
  • Andrea Love (MSE, 2014, now at FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) - preparation and properties of Carbopol microgels
  • Chris Barney (MSE, 2013-2014, now a grad student at UMass Amherst) - polymers in cementitious materials
  • Scott Mullen (Physics/Math/CS, 2013) - PIV analysis of shear rheometry data
  • Brooke Elliott (ChemE, 2012-2013; now at Proctor & Gamble) - rheology of alginate rafts
  • Kathleen Steckbeck (BME, 2012-2013) - formation and characterization of alginate rafts
  • Anthony Hill (MSE, 2012-2013, now at Honeywell Aerospace) and Ananth Raman (MSE, 2012-2013, now at Novelis) - design of polymeric materials for shoe tread
  • John Epling (MSE, 2012-2013) - molecular motions of polymers
  • Justin Cochran (MSE, 2012-2013; now at Steel Dynamics) - friction and mechanics of soft material thin films
  • MaryBeth Pavlick (MSE, 2012-2013; now at Owens Corning) - compression testing of soft materials
  • Nelyan Lopez-Perez (Physics, Univ. of Puerto Rico, 2012; now a grad student at Purdue) - microstructure mapping of polymer thin films, LSAMP Scholar
  • Rachel Stone (MSE, 2012; now at Ball Aerospace) - rheology of oil/water interfaces with ionic surfactant
  • Jessica Fox (MSE, 2012; now at ArcelorMittal) - compression testing of soft materials