Kenneth H. Sandhage

Research Interests

Dr. Ken H. Sandhage is the Reilly Professor of Materials Engineering. He received a B.S. (1981) in Metallurgical Engineering with highest distinction from Purdue University and a Ph.D. (1986) in Ceramics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After working for 5 years in industry (as a Senior Scientist at both Corning, Inc. and American Superconductor Corp.), he joined the Materials Science & Engineering Dept. at Ohio State University. In 2003, he moved to the School of Materials Science & Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was the B. Mifflin Hood Professor. In the fall of 2015, Dr. Sandhage joined the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue.

The Sandhage group has pioneered the development of novel shape-preserving, reaction-based processes for generating materials with tailored chemistries and macro-to-nanoscale structures for energy, environmental, transportation, defense, and medical applications. Major research activities of the Sandhage group include:

♦Shape-preserving chemical transformation (“materials alchemy”) of macro- and microscale structures to yield:

  • High-melting, erosion-resistant, and thermal shock-resistant zirconium carbide/tungsten composites for solid-fuel rocket nozzles
  • Highly-porous, nanocrystalline silicon for lithium ion battery anodes
  • Highly-porous silicon films on dense micropatterned waveguides for optical sensors1
  • Titania or silicon inverse opals for tailored reflection at visible or IR wavelengths2
  • Stiff, thermally-conductive, ceramic-rich composites for components in high-temperature energy systems and engines3
  • Titanium implants with nanostructured surfaces for enhanced osteointegration4

♦Bio-enabled, chemically-tailored, hierarchically-structured 3-D materials, including:

  • High surface area nanoporous carbon replicas of the microshells of diatoms (algae) as catalyst supports for fuel cell cathodesand for and for rapid, flow-through enzymatic catalysis6
  • Magnetite-coated diatom microshells for water purification7
  • Gold replicas of diatom microshells exhibiting extraordinary optical transmission (“transparent metal”)7
  • Titania8, barium titanate, and lanthanide-doped barium titanate9 replicas of butterfly scales for tailored optical reflection or emission
  • Magnetite (magnetic) pollen replicas for tailored, multimodal adhesion10

♦Wet chemical syntheses of conformal functional ceramic, metallic, and hybrid (organic/inorganic) coatings:

  • Layer-by-layer, protein-enabled, enzyme/titania and enzyme/silica coatings for biocatalysis and anti-microbial activity6,11
  • Protein-enabled, porous wall, nanocrystalline titania nanotube arrays for dye-sensitized solar cells11
  • Layer-by-layer, surface sol-gel-enabled, multicomponent oxide coatings for optical, magnetic, catalytic, and energy applications
  • Low cost, inkjet-printed copper patterns on flexible substrates for antennas and other passive devices12

1with Adibi, et al. (School of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology)
2with Aizenberg, et al. (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University)
3with Henry, Ranjan, et al. (School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology)
4with Boyan, et al. (School of Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University)
5with Liu, et al. (School of Materials Science & Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology)
6with Kröger, et al. (Dept. Chemistry & Food Chemistry, Technical University of Dresden)
7with Perry, et al. and Marder, et al. (School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology)
8with Srinivasarou, et al. (School of Materials Science & Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology)
9with Vukusic, et al. (Dept. Physics & Astronomy, University of Exeter), and Deheyn, et al. (Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
10with Meredith, et al. (School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology)
11with Naik, Dickerson, Durstock, et al. (Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB)
12with Tentzeris, et al. (School of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology)

Research by the Sandhage group has been published in a number of high-impact-factor
journals (see the “Journal Publications” tab), including:

  • Nature
  • Nature Nanotechnology
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
  • Energy & Environmental Science
  • Advanced Materials
  • Advanced Functional Materials
  • Advanced Optical Materials
  • Angewandte Chemie (Intl. Ed.)
  • Chemical Reviews
  • Journal of the American Chemical Society
  • Nano Letters

This research has resulted in several patented processes for fabricating near netshaped ceramics and composites at modest temperatures: the Biologically-Assembled and Shape-preserving Inorganic Conversion (BASIC) process; the Displacive Compensation of Porosity (DCP) process; and the Volume Identical Metal Oxidation (VIMOX) process. Sandhage and his students are authors of 27 granted patents (see the “Granted Patents” tab).

Dr. Sandhage and his group have received several honors and awards, including: 5 best paper awards, such as the Purdy Award from the American Ceramic Society; the Outstanding Materials Engineer Award from Purdue University; the Lumley Research Award from Ohio State University, and the Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award for the Development of Graduate Research Assistants from Georgia Tech. In 1999-2000, he was a Humboldt Fellow in the Advanced Ceramics Group at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. Dr. Sandhage is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society. He has also been a technical consultant for a number of companies and law firms.

Support for the research of the Sandhage group has been provided by:

  • Department of Energy
    • Office of Basic Energy Sciences
    • Advanced Research Projects Agency
    • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research/Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Office of Naval Research
  • Department of Defense MURI Program
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  • National Aeronautics & Space Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation
  • Bacock & Wilcox Company
  • Edison Materials Technology Center
  • Edward Orton Ceramic Foundation
  • Imerys/World Minerals
  • UES, Inc.
  • Lockheed Corporation

Sandhage Areas of Interest

Granted Patents

Journal Publications