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Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Christopher Cornelius
Chris Cornelius


Yasar Demirel


  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2000
  • M.Eng., Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1998
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Montana State University, 1994

Courses Taught

  • CHME 482/882 Polymers
  • CHME 333/833 Transport Operations II

Recent Publications

  • Journal of Membrane Science
  • Journal of Materials Science

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Description

Chris J. Cornelius' work investigates fundamental material interrelationships between structure, physical properties, and transport, of natural and synthetic polymers, ionomers, hybrid organic-inorganic materials, and sol-gel glasses. He teaches graduate and undergraduate thermodynamics, polymer physics, and transport phenomena. His combined research experience spans over 15 years as a faculty member, a senior administrator in academia, a national laboratory staff scientist, and an industrial engineer. He uses his unique perspectives to contribute to outreach efforts to promote student and faculty diversity to enrich the research, scholarship, and learning domains. In addition to teaching and research, he is also the Editor of the Journal of Materials Science.


  • 2000 Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • 1998 M.Eng., Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • 1994 B.S., Chemical Engineering, Montana State University, 1994

Research Interests

Fundamental material interrelationships between structure, property, and function of natural and synthetic polymers, ionomers, hybrid organic-inorganic materials, and sol-gel glasses.
  • Material synthesis (polymer, ionomer, and sol-gel glass), polymer composites, and blends.
  • Physical properties (SAXS, WAXS, SANS, light-scattering, Raman, DSC, TGA, DMTA, DETA, FTIR, NMR, Impedance, cycle voltammetry), stress/strain/creep, viscoelasticity, and physical aging characterization via TTS (time-temperature-superposition).
  • Hydrogel properties, structure, and swelling thermodynamics.
Transport of molecule, ion, and electrons in complex structures and interfaces.
  • Gas, liquid, vapor, ion, molecule, and electron transport relationships based upon on polymer, ionomer, molecular motions, structure, composition, and order.
  • Water desalination via reverse-osmosis (RO) and electro-dialysis (ED).
  • Electrochemical devices utilizing ionomers that selectively transport proton and hydroxide ions: hydrogen and methanol fuel cells, and water electrolysis for hydrogen production.
  • Energy storage via capacitors and batteries utilizing polymers, ionomers, and composite films.
  • Design of polymer and ionomer gels for selective molecule transport for drug delivery.
Structured and functional surfaces and materials.
  • Wetting fundamentals and relationships to composition and surface structure.
  • Super hydrophobic surfaces and relationships to structure and composition.
  • Bio-fouling resistant surfaces via ion charge density and composition.
  • Chemical and biological detection via polymers with UV fluorescent groups.

Recent Publications

  • Fan, Y.; Lee, H-S.; Staiger, C.L.; McGrath, J.E.; and Cornelius,* C.J. “The Effect of Block Length upon Structure, Physical Properties, and Transport within a Series of Sulfonated Poly(arylene ether sulfone)s,” Journal of Membrane Science, 430, 106-112, (2013). Impact Factor: 3.673  Cited: 0
  • Fan, Y. and Cornelius,* C.J. “Raman Spectroscopic and Gas Transport Study of a Pentablock Ionomer Complexed with Metal Ions and its Relationship to Physical Properties,” Journal of Materials Science, 48(3), 1153-1161, (2013). Impact Factor: 2.015  Cited: 0
  • Hibbs, H. and Cornelius,* C.J. “Ion Transport in Random and Block Sulfonated Polyimides,” Journal of Materials Science, 48(3), 1303-1309, (2013). Impact Factor: 2.015  Cited: 0
  • Fan, Y.; Zhang, M; Lee, HS; Moore, RB; McGrath, J.E.; Cornelius,* C.J. “Viscoelastic and Gas Transport Properties of a Series of Multiblock Copolymer Ionomers,” Polymer, 52(18), 3963-3969, (2011). Impact Factor: 3.642  Cited: 3
  • Switzer, E.E.; Olson, T.S.; Datye, A.K.; Atanassov,* P.; Hibbs, M.R.; Fujimoto, C.; Cornelius, C.J. “Novel KOH-free Anion-exchange Membrane Fuel Cell: Performance Comparison of Alternative Anion-exchange Ionomers in Catalyst Ink,” Electrochimica Acta, 55(9), 3404-3408, (2010). Impact Factor: 3.642  Cited: 28
  • Stanis,* R.J.; Yaklin, M.A.; Cornelius, C.J.; Takatera, T.; Umemoto, A.; Ambrosini, A.; Fujimoto, C.H. “Evaluation of Hydrogen and Methanol Fuel Cell Performance of Sulfonated Diels Alder Polyphenylene Membranes,” Journal of Power Sources, 195(1), 104-110, (2010).  Impact Factor: 4.283  Cited: 6
  • Hibbs, M.R.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Cornelius,* C.J. “Poly(phenylene)-based Anion Exchange Membranes for Alkaline Fuel Cells,” ECS Transactions, 19(30), 89-97, (2009). Impact Factor: TBD  Cited: 2
  • Hibbs,* M.R.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Cornelius, C.J. “Synthesis and Characterization of Poly(phenylene) Based Anion Exchange Membranes for Alkaline Fuel Cells,” Macromolecules, 42(21), 8316-8321, (2009). Impact Factor: 4.837  Cited: 107
  • Lilin H.; Smith, H.L.; Majewski, J.; Cornelius, C.J.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Perahia,* D. “From Solutions to Membranes: Structure Studies of Rigid Sulfonated Ionomers,” Macromolecules, 42(18), 7084-7090, (2009). Impact Factor: 4.837  Cited: 5
  • Switzer, E.E.; Olson, T.S.; Datye, A.K.; Atanassov,* P.; Hibbs, M.R.; Cornelius, C.J. “Templated Pt-Sn Electrocatalysts for Ethanol, Methanol, and CO Oxidation in Alkaline Media,” Electrochimica Acta, 54(3), 989-995, (2009). Impact Factor: 3.642  Cited: 38
  • James, C.W.; Marand,* E.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Cornelius,* C.J. “The Effect of Temperature and Humidity on the O2 Sorption in Sulfonated Polyphenylenes,” Polymer, 50(14), 3220-3224, (2009). Impact Factor: 3.828  Cited: 2
  • Lilin H.; Smith, H.L.; Majewski, J.; Cornelius, C.J.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Perahia,* D. “Interfacial Effects on Water penetration into Ultrathin Ionomer Films: An in-situ Study Using Neutron Reflectometry,”Macromolecules, 42(15), 5745-5751, (2009). Impact Factor: 4.837  Cited: 5
  • Hibbs, M.R.; Hickner, M.A.; Alam, T.M.; McIntyre, S.K.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Cornelius,* C.J. “Transport Properties of Hydroxide and Proton Conducting Membranes,” Chemistry of Materials, 20(7), 2566-2573, (2008). Impact Factor: 7.286  Cited: 103
  • Staiger, C.L.; Pas, S.; Hill, A.J.; Cornelius,* C.J.“Gas Separation, Free Volume Distribution, and Physical Aging of a Highly Microporous Spirobisindane Polymer,” Chemistry of Materials, 20(8), 2606-2608, (2008). Impact Factor: 7.286  Cited: 56


  • Hibbs, M.R.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Cornelius, C.J. “Poly(phenylene)-based Anion Exchange Membrane,” U.S. Patent 7,888,397 B1.
  • Cornelius, C.J.; Staiger, C.L.; Miller, K.A.; Vaughn, M.R., “Hybrid Membrane-PSA System for Separating Oxygen from Air,” U.S. Patent 7,875,101.
  • Cornelius, C.J.; Fujimoto, C.H.; Hickner, M.A., “Sulfonated Polyphenylene Polymers Useful for Polymer Electrolyte Membranes and Nanocomposites,” U.S. Patent 7,186,790.
  • Cornelius, C.J., “Hybrid organic-inorganic Proton-Exchange Membrane Materials Based on Sulfonated Polyimide Block Copolymers Useful for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells,” U.S. Patent 7,022,810

Awards and Honors

  • First Place, National Collegiate Education Awards Winner, Montana State University, 1993
  • Southern Region Education Board Doctoral Fellowship VPI&SU, 1997-1999
  • Eastman Chemical Fellowship in Polymer Chemistry VPI&SU, 1999-2000
  • Pratt Presidential Scholarship,VPI&SU, 1998-99
  • GE Academic Fellowship VPI&SU, 1996-1997
  • Hearst Scholarship Montana State University, 1994
  • Dow Native American Scholarship in Chemical Engineering, 1992-1994
  • DOE/NORCUS Scholarship, 1990-1993
  • A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship, 1989-1994