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Adhesion Science Short Course

January 2021 Update

Both the 2020 and 2021 Adhesion Science Short Courses have been canceled in an effort to support ongoing health and safety measures in relation to COVID-19. Although we considered alternative options, such as a virtual short course, we could not adequately replace the valuable in-person lab component.

We will be offering the short course again in 2022, at the Inn at Virginia Tech. More details on that event will be provided as they become available. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Galford at

MII thanks everyone who was interested in attending the short course and the faculty who were scheduled to participate. Stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you when the course resumes!

Following guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the 2021 Adhesion Science short course has been cancelled. 

Short Course Information

Held annually in late spring/early summmer, in Blacksburg, Virginia

Attend our annual lecture-laboratory short course for those who produce or utilize adhesives and sealants.

Alan Esker teaching the 2018 adhesion science short course
Adhesion Science Schedule 2019 for Reference.pdf The 2019 Short Course Schedule is available for download, to serve as a reference for those interested in attending future courses.

Instructors & Areas of Expertise

Michael Bortner CP2S headshot

Michael Bortner

Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

Ph.D., Virginia Tech, 2003

Phone: 540-231-4213



Polymer nanocomposites; nanostructured materials and surfaces; polymer morphology and structure-property relationships; surface and interface phenomena in polymers. Applications: Additive manufacturing, composite processing, smart materials, advanced materials, structural composites, multifunctional coatings. Nanomaterial dispersion and characterization, manufacturing process development, novel nanocomposite characterization techniques, transport at polymer / particle interfaces and in multi-phase systems.

Richey Davis headshot

Richey M. Davis

Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

Ph.D., Princeton University, 1983

Phone: 540-231-4578



Physical chemistry and rheology of polymer solutions and colloidal suspensions with emphases on water-soluble polymers and suspensions in aqueous media; polymer adsorption at interfaces; waterborne adhesives; dispersion and processing of fine powders for coating, ceramic and composite applications.

Raffaella De Vita smiles and looks at the camera. She is in her lab and wearing a dark gray suit.

Raffaella De Vita

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics

Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2005

Phone: 540-231-5905



Mechanical characterization of elastic and viscoelastic properties of soft materials, with special emphasis on the development of new mathematical models and experimental methods.

David Dillard CP2S headshot

David A. Dillard

Adhesive and Sealant Science Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics

Ph.D., Virginia Tech, 1981

Phone: 540-231-4714



Fracture and time dependent behavior of adhesives, elastomers and other polymeric materials; development of appropriate test methods for adhesive bonds; analytical and numerical (finite element) analysis of stresses in bonded joints; durability measurements and predictions for adhesive bonds.

Alan Esker headshot

Alan Esker

Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1996

Phone: 540-231-4601



Solution casting, spin-coating, self-assembly, and the Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique for exploration of the physical chemical aspects of polymer dynamics in confined geometries and at surfaces and interfaces. Investigation of contemporary issues affecting nanotechnology like nanofiller reinforcement in polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS)/polymer nanocomposites, magnetic nanoparticle-lipid interactions for drug delivery systems, and biomimetic engineering of cellulose/polymer interfaces in composites. Characterization techniques through neutron scattering and X-ray reflectivity at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and dynamic mechanical and thermal analysis (DMTA), rheology, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), surface light scattering (SLS), the fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) technique, ellipsometry, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and optical (OM), fluorescence (FM), atomic force (AFM), scanning electron (SEM), transmission electron (TEM), and Brewster angle (BAM) microscopy.

Maren Roman headshot

Maren Roman

Associate Professor, Department of Sustainable Biomateriaals

Ph.D., State University of New York, 2002

Phone: 540-231-1421


Michael Schulz wears a burgundy button down shirt and glasses and smiles with a dimly lit library behind him.

Michael D. Schulz

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry

Ph.D., University of Florida, 2014

Phone: 540-231-8244



Synthesis of polymers by methods including polycondensation, reversible activation-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization, ring-opening polymerization (ROP), and ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP); polymer structure-property relationships; development of materials for biomedical applications; metal-chelating polymers.

Short Course Topics

  • Adhesives and Polymer Design Parameters
  • Adhesives, Sealant, and Waterborne Rheology
  • Adsorption on Surfaces/Surface Energy
  • Classes of Adhesive Structure and Synthetic Methods
  • Stresses in Bonded Joints
  • Surfaces and Surface Preparation
  • Fracture of Adhesive Bonds
  • Viscoelasticity and Applications to Adhesives
  • Adhesive Test Methods
  • Analysis of Surfaces
  • Free Volume and DSC
  • Dynamic Mechanical Methodology
  • PSA Performance and Testing
  • Accelerated Characterization
  • Frontiers in Adhesion Science
  • Wood Adhesion
  • Durability and Design

Course Site and Lodging

Lecture sessions for the 2022 Adhesion Science Short Course will be held at the Inn at Virginia Tech with lab sessions on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. MII will provide transportation to and from the labs. 

The closest airport (Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport—ROA) is located in Roanoke, Virginia, about an hour’s ride from Blacksburg. A shuttle service and three major car rental agencies are available at the airport.

MII reserves a block of rooms at the Inn at Virginia Tech during the short course. Guests can call 540-231-8000 and mention the "Adhesion Science Short Course" to receive the group rate.  


The cost of the Adhesion Science Short Course is $2,000 per person. This tuition covers:

  • Printed course materials and interaction with Virginia Tech's top adhesion science professors
  • 3.2 CEUs through Continuing and Professional Education
  • Sessions in state-of-the-art labs at Virginia Tech
  • Continuous break including coffee and snacks during class time
  • Lunch from Monday-Thursday and Dinner Banquet on Thursday night
  • Access to a room block at a discounted rate

Participants may bring a guest to Thursday's banquet for $50. 

2018 Adhesion Science short course group
2018 Short Course Participants and Faculty


Check out our FAQ page for questions.



For more information, please contact Jennifer Galford at

Comments from Past Attendees

"I found this course to be well-detailed and very informative. The course gave a very good overview of the topics related to adhesion. I gained a lot of knowledge this week, which will be beneficial to my career. The physical examples, labs, and demos were all very helpful. Overall, this was a really great course presented by passionate professors."

- Industry Chemist

"This is a great course: it’s well organized, the instructors are top-notch, and the course material is very informative."

- Research Specialist

"Very well presented, handouts contained a lot of information. The course gave a very good overview of materials and structure-properties relationship.  It provided me with knowledge that would otherwise require years of studying to become familiar with. Good overall scope."

- Anonymous

"This has been an excellent course. The instructors demonstrated a keen interest in the topics they presented. I could tell that they were presenting the information to help our understanding rather than just to complete a task."

- Associate Chemist