Luyi Sun

Associate Professor and Castleman Professor in Engineering Innovation


Ph.D., The University of Alabama (2004)

Current Research

  • Multi-functional nanostructured materials for structural, functional, environmental, and energy related applications
  • Polymeric materials and new polymer processing development
  • Layered compounds
  • Green science and engineering
  • Hydrates and porous materials for energy storage and CO2 capture

Professional activities

Member: American Chemical Society (ACS)
Member: American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
Member: Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE)

Research Statement

Our research covers a wide range of materials, including polymeric materials, ceramics and glasses, and composites. One of our main goals is to design materials with unique structure (down to nano- and molecular-scale) for specific applications, such as packaging, energy, catalysis, etc. In most cases, the structural design and control are the keys to the high performance of these materials.
Overall, we are engaged in four areas of materials research:

Multi-functional Nanostructured Materials
  • Synthesis of nanomaterials (nano-particles, tubes, platelets, porous materials, etc.)
  • Polymer nanocomposites
  • Bio-nanocomposites
  • Layer-by-Layer self-assembly
  • Thin films and fibers
 Solid State Chemistry
  • Layered compounds and intercalation/exfoliation chemistry
  • Porous materials and pillared layered compounds
  • Functional ceramics and glasses
 Polymeric Materials and Polymer Processing
  • Fluoropolymers
  • Polyolefins and thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs)
  • Bio-polymers
  • Polymer composites/nanocomposites and blends
  • Polymer processing (injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, thermoforming, biaxial stretching, new processing technique development, etc.)
Green Science
  • Synthesize/isolate/derive valuable materials from biomass
  • Polylactic acid and other bio-based polymeric materials
  • Ionic liquids and their applications

Previous Positions

2009 – 2013 Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Texas State University–San Marcos
2006 – 2009 Senior Research Engineer, Research and Technology Center, Total Petrochemicals USA, Inc.
2005 – 2006 Assistant Research Engineer/Associate Research Engineer, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Department of Chemistry & Polymer Technology Center, Texas A&M University; Supervisor: Profs. Hung-Jue Sue and Abraham Clearfield
2004 – 2005 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, The University of Alabama; Supervisor: Prof. Joseph S. Thrasher

Awards & Honors

2012 Best Paper Award, Engineering Properties and Structure Division, Annual Technical Conference – Society of Plastics Engineers
2012 Runner-Up for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Service, Texas State University-San Marcos
2012 The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) P3–People, Prosperity, and the Planet Award
2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities, Texas State University-San Marcos
2010 Cottrell College Science Award, Research Corporation for Science Advancement
2005 Outstanding Dissertation Award of College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Alabama
1998 The DOW Chemical Company Fellowship; DuPont Fellowship

Recent Publications

 He, Q.; Yuan, T.; Zhang, X.; Luo, Z.; Haldolaarachchige, N.; Sun, L.; Young, D. P.; Wei, S. Guo, Z. Magnetically Soft and Hard Polypropylene/Cobalt Nanocomposites: Role of Maleic Anhydride Grafted Polypropylene. Macromolecules 2013, 46, 2357-2368.

Chen, H.; Wang, W.; Martin, J. C.; Oliphant, A. J.; Doerr, P. A.; Xu, J. F.; DeBorn, K. M.; Chen, C.; Sun, L. Extraction of Lignocellulose and Synthesis of Porous Silica Nanoparticles from Rice Husks – A Comprehensive Utilization of Rice Husk Biomass. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2013, 1, 254-259.

Wang, W.; Ma, C.; Lin, P.; Sun, L.; Cooper, A. I. Gas Storage in Renewable Bioclathrates. Energy & Environmental Science 2013, 6, 105-107.

Wang, W.; Huang, Z.; Chen, H.; Tan, Z.; Wang, H.; Chen, C; Sun, L. Methane Hydrates with a High Capacity and High Formation Rate Promoted by Biosurfantants. Chemical Communications 2012, 48, 11638-11640.

Wang, W.; Martin, J. C.; Huang, R.; Huang, W.; Liu, A.; Han, A.; Sun, L. Synthesis of Silicon Complexes from Rice Husk Derived Silica Nanoparticles. RSC Advances 2012, 2, 9036-9041.

Wong, M.; Guenther, J.; Sun, L.; Blümel, J.; Nishimura, R.; Sue, H.-J. Synthesis and Fabrication of Multifunctional Nanocomposites: Stable Dispersions of Nanoparticles Tethered with Short, Dense and Polydisperse Polymer Brushes in Poly(methyl methacrylate). Advanced Functional Materials 2012, 22, 3614-3624.

Yang, Y.; Zeng, H.; Ren, J.; Yuan, S.; Fan, C.; Sun, L.; Chen, G. Tunable Blue Emission from Ta5+ Doped Sulfophosphate Glass-Ceramics. Journal of the American Ceramic Society 2012, 95, 2206-2210.

Hu, H.; Martin, J. C.; Zhang, M.; Southworth, C. S.; Xiao, M.; Meng, Y.; Sun, L. Immobilization of Ionic Liquids in θ-Zirconium Phosphate for Catalyzing the Coupling of CO2 and Epoxides. RSC Advances 2012, 2, 3810-3815.

Wang, W.; Martin, J. C.; Fan, X.; Han, A.; Luo, Z.; Sun, L. Silica Nanoparticles and Frameworks from Rice Husk Biomass. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces2012, 4, 977-981.

Recent Patents

Wang, W.; Sun, L. Gas Hydrates with a High Capacity and High Formation Rate Promoted by Biosurfactants. Patent Application No. PCT/US 2013/028007, filed on February 27, 2013.Sun, L.; Wang, W. Silica Nanoaggregates and Organosilicon Complexes and Methods of Forming Them from Biomass Materials. Patent Application No. PCT/US 2012/026891, publication date: November 1, 2012.

Sun, L.; Ding, F. Nanocomposite Coatings from a Facile Exfoliation-Reassembly Process. US Provisional Patent Application No. 61/795,487, filed on October 18, 2012.

Sun, L.; Yu, J. Martin, B. R.; Direct Synthesis of Layered Double Hydroxide Single-Layer Nanosheets. US Provisional Patent Application No. 61/741,939, filed on July 31, 2012.

Sun, L.; Meng, Y.; Xiao, M.; Hu, H; Martin, J. C. Immobilization of Ionic Liquids via Solid State Intercalation in Layered Compounds. International Patent Application Publication No. WO2012/078783, publication date: June 14, 2012.


Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-6895
Mailing Address97 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3136, Storrs, CT 06269-3136
Office LocationIMS-205A