Faculty Profile

Norman J. Wagner

Unidel Robert L. Pigford Chair in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Affiliated Professor, Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Joint Professor, Biomedical Engineering (BME)

Professor, Biomechanics & Movement Science (BIOMS)

Director, Center for Neutron Science (CNS)


  • Post-Doctorate – 1990 Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Doctorate – 1988 Princeton University
  • Post-Doctorate – 1988 NATO/NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Bachelors – 1984 Carnegie Mellon University

About Norman J. Wagner

Norman J. Wagner is the Unidel Robert L. Pigford Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware, with affiliated faculty appointments in Physics and Astronomy, and Biomechanics and Movement Science. He is President of the Society of Rheology (American Institute of Physics Member Society), is the co-founder and director of the Center for Neutron Science www.cns.che.udel.edu, and served as Chair of the CBE Department from 2007-2012. He was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2016 and the National Academy of Engineering in 2015. He leads an active research group with focus on materials for manned space exploration, the rheology of complex fluids, neutron scattering, colloid and polymer science, applied statistical mechanics, nanotechnology and particle technology. His research interests include the effects of applied flow on the microstructure and material properties of colloidal suspensions, polymers, self-assembled surfactant solutions, and complex fluids. Prof. Wagner earned his Bachelors degree from Carnegie Mellon and Doctorate from Princeton University, was an NSF/NATO Postdoctoral Fellow in Germany, and a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Lab prior to joining the University of Delaware in 1991. He was named a Senior Fulbright Scholar (Konstanz, Germany) and served as a guest Professor at the ETH, Zurich (1997) and the University of Rome (2004). His recent awards include Sustained Research Prize of the NSSA (2018), election as Fellow of the AAAS (2015), the Bingham Medal of the Society of Rheology (2014), election as Fellow of the Neutron Scattering Society of America (2014), and the AIChE PTF Thomas Baron Award (2013). He was awarded the Siple Award in 2002 by the US Army for his development of shear thickening fluids for novel energy absorbing materials. Prof. Wagner has authored or coauthored over 200 scientific publications and patents, and has served on the executive committee of the Neutron Scattering Society of America, as well asSection Editor for AIChE Journal(Soft Matter), in addition to serving on the editorial boards of four additional international journals. He has co-authored a textbook (2008) on Mass and Heat Transfer for the Chemical Engineering series of Cambridge University Press, as well as Colloidal Suspension Rheology (2012), also Cambridge University Press. Patented and commercially developed scientific instruments include rheo-optic instruments (TA Instruments) as well as novel rheo-SANS instruments for investigating nanoscale and microscale structure in flowing systems currently available at the NIST Center for Neutron Research and the Institute Laue Langevin D22, Grenoble, France. Prof. Wagner cofounded STF Technologies LLC in 2003 to commercialize his inventions for personal
protective equipment and astronaut protection for NASA.

Select Publications 

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

  1. Yearley, E. J.; Zarraga, I. E.; Shire, S. J.; Scherer, T. M.; Gokarn, Y.; Wagner, N. J.; Kiu, Y., “Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Characterization of Monoclonal Antibody Conformations and Interactions at High Concentrations”, Biophysical Journal 105, 720, (2013)
  2. Li, D.; Wagner, N. J., “Universal Binding Behavior for Ionic Alkyl Surfactants with Oppositely Charged Polyelectrolytes”, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2013)
  3. Gurnon, A.K.; Wagner, N.J., “Large Amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS) measurements to obtain constitutive equation model parameters: Giesekus model of banding and nonbanding wormlike micelles”, Journal of Rheology 56, 333, (2012)
  4. Eberle, A.P.R.; Castaneda-Priego, R.; Kim, J.M.; Wagner, N.J., “Dynamical Arrest, Percolation, Gelation, and Glass Formation in Model Nanoparticle Dispersions with Thermoreversible Adhesive Interactions”, Lanmuir 28, 1866, (2012)
  5. McMullan, J. M.; Wagner, N. J., “Directed Self-Assembly of Colloidal Crystals by Dielectrophoretic Ordering”, Langmuir 28, 4123, (2012)
  6. Lopez-Barron, C. R.; Wagner, N. J., “Structural Transitions of CTAB Micelles in a Protic Ionic Liquid”, Langmuir 28, 12722, (2012)
  7. Lopez-Barron, C. R.; Porcar, L.; Eberle, A. P. R.; Wagner, N. J., “Dynamics of Melting and Recrystallization in a Polymeric Micellar Crystal Subjected to Large Amplitude Oscillatory Shear Flow”, Physical Review Letters 108, 258301, (2012)
  8. Lopez-Barron, C. R.; Li, D.; DeRita, L.; Basavaraj, M. G.; Wagner, N. J., “Spontaeous Thermoreversible Formation of Cationic Vesicles in a Protic Ionic Liquid”, Journal of the American Chemical Society 134, 20728, (2012)
  9. O’Malley, M. A.; Helgeson, M. E.; Wagner, N. J.; Robinson, A. S., “Toward Rational Design of Protein Detergent Complexes: Determinants of Mixed Micelles That Are Critical for the In Vitro Stabilization of a G-Protein Coupled Receptor”, Biophysical Journal 101, 1938, (2011)
  10. M. E. Helgeson, M. D. Reichert, Y. T. Hu, and N. J. Wagner, “Relating shear banding, structure, and phase behavior in wormlike micellar solutions”, Soft Matter 5, 3858, (2009)


  1. Advanced Body Armor Utilizing Shear Thickening Fluids (10/441, 655): Eric Wetzel, 2003
  2. Verfahren und Vorrichtung zur Bestimmung der Oberflaechenladung kolloidaler Teilchen aus der mechanischen Daempfung eines Torsionresonators (NAE19950599): Dr. Norbert Willenbacher, BASF AG, 1996
  3. A Method for Building Structure and Viscoelasticity in Surfactant Solutions by Addition of Nanoparticles (): E.W. Kaler, F. Nettesheim, M.E. Helgeson, M.W. Liberatore, M.W. Vethamuthu, K.P. Ananth
  4. Shear Thickening Fluid Containment in Polymer Composites (11/260,742): with John Kirkwood and Ron Egres, Jr.
  5. Designed Particle Agglomeration (2005/0106310): with John Henry Green, Douglas Eric Spahr and Marc Sommer
  6. System for In-Situ Optical Measurement & Sample Heating During Rheometric Measurements (7,500,385): with Matthew Liberatore and Peter Foster


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

  1. National Academy of Engineering: 2015
  2. Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Science: 2014)
  3. Bingham Medal (Society of Rheology: 2014)
  4. Fellow (Neutron Scattering Society of America: 2014)
  5. 2013 AIChE Particle Technology Forum Thomas Baron Award in Fluid Particle Systems (AIChE: 2013)
  6. Dale Pearson Lectureship (UCSB: 2008)
  7. 2005 American Chemical Society Local Section Award (ACS Delaware Section: 2006)
  8. Paul A. Siple Memorial Award, Best Paper Award, 23rd (Army Research Conference: 2002)
  9. Upper St. Clair HS Alumni Hall of Fame (Academics: 2002)
  10. Robert W. Vaughan Lectureship (California Institute of Technology: 1998)

Research Areas 

Rheology of colloidal dispersion, nanoparticles, surfactant, biopolymer and polymer solution, and structured polymers and polymer blends; nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of complex fluids.

Office: 227 CLB
Phone: 302-831-8079

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