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Interfacial Processes and Thermodynamics


Name Email Phone Room
Eddie  Chang echang@nsf.gov (703) 292-4826  565.55  


Apply to PD 14-1414 as follows:

For full proposals submitted via FastLane: standard Grant Proposal Guidelines apply.
For full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: NSF Grants.gov Application Guide; A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov Guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide)


Full Proposal Window:  August 15, 2014 - September 17, 2014


The goal of the Interfacial Processes and Thermodynamics program is to advance fundamental molecular engineering at interfaces, especially as it applies to the nano-processing of soft materials.  The program views fundamental interfacial interactions, molecular transport at interfaces, and molecular thermodynamics as integral to developing new approaches for solving critical engineering needs that face society. Molecules at interfaces, with functional interfacial properties, are of special interest, as these molecules have potential use in important research areas, such as adhesion and advanced manufacturing/fabrication.  These interfacial molecules may also have biomolecular functions at the micro- and nano-scale, where the biomolecular functionalities may be re-directed toward engineering solutions. One new area of interest is the adhesion between unlike materials, or adhesion in adverse environments, with particular emphasis on applying strategies arising from nature.  Research supported in these fundamental areas should lead to more economical and environmentally benign processing, improved water quality, and novel functional materials for sensors, in industrial, environmental, and biomedical settings.  Nanotechnology plays a critical role in most of these new areas.

Interfacial processes and materials of interest include:

  • Materials that form through either self-assembly or template-directed assembly
  • Materials driven primarily by thermodynamic intermolecular forces, although the processes may be influenced by flow and electrical forces
  • Interfacial processes that are supplemented by weak interactions

The program also supports complex simulations of molecular systems at interfaces, with these simulations preferably done in conjunction with experimental comparisons: 

  • New theories and complex simulation approaches for determining the transport and thermodynamic properties of fluid mixtures in biological and other fluids
  • Complex molecular interactions at either the interfaces, in membranes, or in a nano-environment. 

Projects are coordinated and jointly supported with other NSF programs, both inside and outside the CBET Division.  For example, the program participates in all nano- and cyber-technology activities, encourages support of undergraduates, industry/university (GOALI), and international collaboration.  The IPT program is also interested in developing special materials used in developing new Biosensing Systems and Technologies.  In this regard, the Interfacial Processing and Thermodynamics program and the Nano-Biosensing program may jointly support novel projects related to surface functionalization at the molecular level.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years.  The average unsolicited annual award size for the program is $110,000.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, will be returned without review.  Small equipment proposals up to $25,000 will also be considered and may be submitted during the annual submission window.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas can be considered.  However, the PI should contact the Program Director, prior to submission, to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.  Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and /or industry of success in the research.  The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Proposals submitted to this program are subject to the scope of the program's description and the availability of funds.  Decisions about particular proposals are often very difficult to make and factors other than reviewer comments and ratings enter into the decision.  Maintaining appropriate balance among subfields, the availability of other funding, the total amount of funds available to the program, and general Foundation policies and priorities are also important decision factors. 

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.  Award duration is five years.  The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information.

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements:  Proposals involving these activities should ideally be submitted during the regular annual proposal window.  PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.  Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.  Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download here.

Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.


Interfacial, Transport, and Separation Processes

Transport and Thermal Fluids Phenomena

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program


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