University of Massachusetts Amherst

Polymer Science and Engineering

Alfred J. Crosby

Degree Information:
B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Virginia, 1996
Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2000

Mailing Address:
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Room A313, Conte Research Center
University of Massachusetts Amherst
120 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003

Phone: (413) 577-1313


Fax: (413) 545-0082

Research Interests:

Mechanics of hierarchical structures; polymer adhesion; biomimetic materials design; responsive surfaces and materials; elastic instabilities; deformation and fracture of thin films; polymer patterning; nanocomposites; combinatorial methods.

Current Research:

Can we design a material with different “materials properties” at the nanometer, micron, and millimeter length scales? More importantly, can we link this length-scale design of materials properties with fabrication techniques that allow materials to self-assemble or adapt their structure to meet the demands of their environment? From the gecko to the Venus Flytrap, beautiful examples of hierarchical design and fabrication are found in nature as answers to these questions. Our group uses these and various examples in nature to inspire the development and understanding of heirarchical structures that display predictable materials properties. Specifically, we organize our group into four focused program areas:

  • Bioinspired Adhesion
  • Polymer Surface Instabilities
  • Polymer Nanoparticle Instabilities
  • Structure and Properties of Swollen Networks and Living Tissue

In each of the program areas, we develop novel, well-controlled assembly procedures to define hierarchical structures with unique, predictable materials properties. For example, we have developed a unique class of materials interfacial/surface structures that are formed by elastic instabilities, such as wrinkling, and can respond quickly to environmental triggers. We emphasize the demonstration of fundamental materials science for applied function. Some examples of these concepts are found on our research web page and more details can be found in our published manuscripts. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

Honors and Distinctions:

  • ACS Rubber Division Sparks-Thomas Award
  • Rohm & Haas New Faculty Award
  • Adhesion Society Outstanding Young Scientist Award 
  • National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • Army Research Office Young Investigator Award
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award
  • National Research Council Research Associateship
  • Sigma Xi National Scientific Research Honor Society
  • Adhesion Society Alan Gent Award