Faculty Directory
Wesley R. Burghardt

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech L268
Evanston, IL 60208

847-497-1401Email Wesley Burghardt


Chemical and Biological Engineering


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

M.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois

B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois

Research Interests

Rheology, polymer physics

We seek to understand the dynamics of complex fluids during flow. Many fluids encountered in materials processing exhibit non-Newtonian behavior due to the presence of complex molecular or nanoscale structure that is perturbed by flow. Our research emphasizes in-situ investigation of such flow-induced structural changes to elucidate the origins and mechanisms of complex rheology in polymers.

Our research is broadly divided between two thrusts. We have a long-standing interest in how flow affects the organization of structured fluids such as surfactants, ordered block copolymers, and liquid crystalline polymers. We use powerful X-ray scattering techniques for realtime measurements of polymer structure in both idealized shear flows and during processing, taking advantage of Northwestern's synchrotron research facility at the Advanced Photon Source.

Our other theme is the application of unique flow birefringence techniques to interrogate stresses generated in polymer melts and solutions and to test theoretical models for the rheological behavior of flexible polymers.

Selected Publications

  • Rutz, Alexandra L.; Gargus, Emma S.; Hyland, Kelly E.; Lewis, Phillip L.; Setty, Aakash; Burghardt, Wesley R.; Shah, Ramille N., Employing PEG crosslinkers to optimize cell viability in gel phase bioinks and tailor post printing mechanical properties, Acta Biomaterialia
  • López-Barrón, Carlos R.; Burghardt, Wesley R.; Kweon, Mu Sung, Local and Global Stretching of Polymer Chains during Startup of Extensional Flow, ACS Macro Letters
  • Sing, Michelle K.; Burghardt, Wesley R.; Olsen, Bradley D., Influence of End-Block Dynamics on Deformation Behavior of Thermoresponsive Elastin-like Polypeptide Hydrogels, Macromolecules
  • Sing, Michelle K.; Glassman, Matthew J.; Vronay-Ruggles, Xenanthia T.; Burghardt, Wesley R.; Olsen, Bradley D., Structure and rheology of dual-associative protein hydrogels under nonlinear shear flow, Soft Matter