Faculty Profile

Michael E. Mackay

Joint Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Distinguished Professor of Materials Science & Engineering


  • Doctorate – 1985 University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  • Masters – 1983 University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelors – 1979 University of Delaware

About Michael E. Mackay

Research in Dr. Mackay’s group concerns materials processing and the structures developed from processing effects. Most of his research centers on processing polymers using fused filament fabrication (FFF), sometimes called fused deposition modeling(r) or 3D printing. Our goal is to develop new materials and processing technologies to make strong products with this new polymer processing technology.

We use sophisticated characterization tools such as small angle neutron scattering (SANS), a technique we have many years of experience using, to understand the structure-property relation. This technique requires us to use deuterated polymers to measure the radius of gyration. Deuterated polystyrene is blended with protonated polystyrene using a twin screw extruder and we make the filament for FFF. After FFF we determine the radius of gyration using SANS with the aim of determining how oriented the molecules are in the product and then relate this to its strength. We are interested in generating highly oriented polymers using FFF to improve the product strength. To do this we make new polymers and polymer blends for FFF and optimize the “hot end” of our Taz 3D printers.

The weld strength between filaments is another aspect of FFF that dictates printed product strength. We have developed heat transfer models to predict the temperature of deposited filaments, relate this to molecular diffusion at the filaments? interface and subsequently to the weld strength.

In summary, we are using sophisticated techniques to optimize a new processing technique to make the strongest products possible in the shortest amount of processing time.

Select Publications

For a complete listing of publications, please view the Full CV.

  1. 1. Mackay, M. E., Z. R. Swain, C. R. Banbury, D. D. Phan and D. A. Edwards, “The performance of the hot end in a plasticating 3D printer”, Journal of Rheology 61, 229, (2017)
  2. 2. Kleine, T. S., N. A. Nguyen, L. E. Anderson, S. Namnabat, E. A. LaVilla, S. A. Showghi, P. T. Dirlam, C. B. Arrington, M. S. Manchester, J. Schwiegerling, R. S. Glass, K. Char, R. A. Norwood, M. E. Mackay and J. Pyun, “High Refractive Index Copolymers with Improved Thermomechanical Properties via the Inverse Vulcanization of Sulfur and 1,3,5-Triisopropenylbenzene”, ACS Macro Letters 5, 1152, (2016)
  3. Mackay, M. E., “”, 0
  4. Shen, H., N. E. Valadez-Perez, B. Guralnick, Y. Liu and M. E. Mackay, “Performance enhancement of polymer-based solar cells by induced phase-separation with silica particles”, Journal of Materials Chemistry C 2, 10087, (2014)
  5. Chung, W.J.; Griebel, J.J.; Kim, E.T.; Yoon, H.; Simmonds, A.G.; Ji, H.J.; Dirlam, P.T.; Glass, R.S.; Wie, J.J.; Nguyen, N.A.; Guralnick, B.W.; Park, J.; Somogyi, A.; Theato, P.; Mackay, M.E.; Sung, Y.E.; Char, K. and Pyun, J., “The use of elemental sulfur as an alternative feedstock for polymeric materials”, Nature Chemistry 5, 518, (2013)
  6. Yan, C.Q.; Mackay, M.E.; Czymmek, K.; Nagarkar, R.P.; Schneider, J.P. and Pochan, D.J., “Injectable solid peptide hydrogel as a cell carrier: Effects of shear flow on hydrogels and cell payload”, Langmuir 28, 6076, (2012)
  7. Keil, J.; Kirby, B.; Majkrzak, C.; Maranville, B. and Mackay M.E., “Nanoparticle concentration profile in polymer-based solar cells”, Soft Matter 6, 641, (2010)
  8. Kiel, J.; Mackay, M.E.; Kirby, B.; Maranville, B. and Majkrzak, C., “Phase-sensitive neutron reflectometry measurements applied in the study of photovoltaic films”, J. Chem. Phys. 133, 074902, (2010)
  9. Kiel, J.W.; Eberle, A.P.R. and Mackay, M.E., “Nanoparticle agglomeration in polymer-basedsolar cells”, Phys Rev. Letters 105, 168701, (2010)
  10. A.Tuteja, P. M. Duxbury and M. E. Mackay, “Polymer chain swelling induced by dispersed nanoparticles”, Phys. Rev. Letters 100, (2008)

Patents (h3)

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For a complete listing of awards, please view the Full CV.

  1. College of Engineering Teaching Fellowship
  2. Degree with Distinction (University of Delaware)
  3. Chemical Engineering Graduate Fellowship
  4. Graduate Fellowship (Exxon)
  5. Graduate Fellowship (Chevron)
  6. Graduate Fellowship (Exxon)
  7. College of Engineering Teaching Award (University of Queensland)
  8. Society of Rheology Publication Award
  9. Max Planck Institute, Workshop Lecturer (Colloidal Processing of Ceramics)

Research Areas 

Development of new nanoscale materials with particular emphasis on nanocomposites, self assembly in thin films and polymer-based solar cells 

Office: 205 DUP
Phone: 302-831-6194

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