Alan Esker teaching the 2018 adhesion science short course

May 20-24, 2019

Hilton Garden Inn, Blacksburg, VA

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

Instructors & Areas of Expertise

Michael Bortner
Department of Chemical Engineering
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 M. Davis
Department of Chemical Engineering
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.

David A. Dillard
Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics
Phone: (540)  231-4714 Email:

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
Department of Chemistry

Phone: (540) 231-4601 Email:

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.

Charles E. Frazier
Department of Sustainable Biomaterials
Phone: (540) 231-8318 Email:

Characterization of the wood-adhesive bondline with emphasis on thermosetting adhesives for wood-based composites, latex adhesives and reactive hotmelts, analysis of the effects of wood-adhesive interactions as they control the morphology and chain dynamics of the bondline, performance evaluation through fracture testing.

Timothy E. Long
Department of Chemistry

Phone: (540) 231-2480 Email:

Synthesis and characterization of interfacially active polymeric systems including block, graft, and star copolymers. Interfacial adhesion in polymer blends and polymer coatings on inorganic substrates. Synthesis of block copolymer adhesion promotors and pressure sensitive adhesives via living polymerization methodologies, in-situ FTIR spectroscopic studies on urethane-based adhesive kinetics, synthesis of liquid crystalline and semi-crystalline polyesters, ionomeric hotmelt polyesters with decreased melt viscosity, adhesion studies in semi-conductor fabrication, and adhesion between bio-derived molecules and organic polymer substrates.


  • 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 Adhesion Science Short Course will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn (900 Plantation Road, Blacksburg, VA, 24060) with lab sessions on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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.

For more information, please contact Janika Simmons at or 540-231-6824.

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

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

Short Course Documents

Adhesion Science Flyer.jpg Flyer
Adhesion Science Schedule 2018.pdf Schedule