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Kurt Koelling

  • Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Eng
  • 485 CBEC
    151 W. Woodruff Ave.
    Columbus, OH 43210
  • 614-292-2256



  • B.S., University of MIssouri-Rolla, 1988
  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1992


Key Honors and Distinctions

  • NSF/Lucent Technologies Industrial Ecology Faculty Fellow, 1997
  • NSF Career Award, 1996


RESEARCH AREAS - Koelling Polymers and Complex Fluids Research Laboratory
  • Rheology, Microfluidics, Polymer Processing, Nanocomposites, and Biocompatible Polymers.
  • All graduate student research positions are currently filled.

My current research interests are in the rheology and processing of complex fluids, including polymer melts and solutions as well as carbon nanotube and nanoplate polymer composites. One of the most difficult challenges in rheometry is the measurement of extensional viscosities. This material property is of fundamental importance in many polymer processing operations, including fiber spinning, blow molding, and injection molding, and in a variety of phenomena including turbulent drag reduction, jet stability, and anti-misting. Four extensional rheometers based on techniques of fiber spinning, stagnation point flow, contraction flow, and filament stretching have been developed in our lab to measure the extensional viscosities of complex fluids. Using these rheometers we are addressing the following important questions. Are extensional flow properties the additional information needed to characterize the behavior of viscoelastic fluids? Can existing constitutive equations properly describe both shear and extensional material functions of viscoelastic fluids? 

My research group is also studying the dynamics of gas bubble penetration through viscous and viscoelastic fluids. This problem has practical applications in gas-assisted injection molding, enhanced oil recovery, thermoset composite processing, and a variety of coating processes. Gas-assisted injection molding is a novel process which involves the partial injection of polymer melt into a mold cavity, followed by injection of high-pressure gas. The gas penetrates through the viscous polymer melt and hollows out the interior of the mold cavity. 

This process is capable of producing lightweight, rigid plastic parts with improved surface quality. The effects of processing conditions and polymer rheology on gas penetration through the molded part are being investigated. Fundamental free surface flow studies are also being conducted to determine how bubble dynamics are influenced by viscoelasticity and non-isothermal flow behavior. Computational fluid dynamics are being used in conjunction with experimental studies to determine the important physics required to determine bubble shape and hydrodynamic coating thickness. 

Other areas under investigation include transport problems involving void formation and removal in thermoset composite processing, thin-wall injection molding, microcellular foam processing, polymer nanocomposites, microfluidic devices, and development of biocompatible polymers.



  • 2015

    Academy of Chemical Engineers. .

  • 2008

    Lumley Research Award. .

  • 2002

    Lumley Research Award. .

  • 2002

    Interdisciplinary Research Award. .

  • 1998

    Lumley Research Award. .

  • 1997

    NSF/Lucent Technologies Industrial Ecology Faculty Fellow. .

  • 1996

    National Science Foundation CAREER Award. .

Papers in Proceedings


  • "Rheology of molten polystyrene/carbon nanofiber composites.." in 229th National Meeting of the American-Chemical-Society. (3 2005).


  • Bechtel,S; Koelling,K; Wang,Y,R; Xu,J,H "Characterization and modeling of carbon nanofiber suspensions." in 8th International Conference on Numerical Methods in Industrial Forming Processes. (1 2004). 311-315 - 311-315.
  • Koelling,K; Bechtel,S; Xu,J,H; Wang,Y,R "Characterization of nanoparticle/polymer melt composites." in 8th International Conference on Numerical Methods in Industrial Forming Processes. (1 2004). 316-320 - 316-320.


  • "The influence of polymer rheology on bubble penetration in gas-assisted injection molding." in 57th Annual Technical Conference of the SPE on Plastics Bridging the Millennia (ANTEC 99). (1 1999).


  • "Effects of complex rib distributions on mold filling and mechanical properties of gas-assisted parts." in 56th Annual Technical Conference of the Society-of-Plastics-Engineers - Plastics on My Mind (ANTEC 98). (1 1998).


  • "Understanding the controlling mechanisms of gas-assisted injection molding through visualization." in 55th Annual Technical Conference of the Society-of-Plastics-Engineers - Plastics Saving Planet Earth (ANTEC 97). (1 1997).
  • "Gas-assisted injection molding of long glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics." (1 1997).
  • "Influence of various gas nozzle designs upon the gas bubble distribution and the pressure development in Gas-Assisted Injection Molding." (1 1997).


  • "Material characterization in elongational flows using the fiber-spinning process." in XIIth International Congress on Rheology. (1 1996).
  • "Gas-assisted injection molding: Influence of processing conditions and material properties." in 54th Annual Technical Conference of the Society-of-Plastics-Engineers - Plastics: Racing into the Future (ANTEC 96). (1 1996).