Research associate - development Job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, TN

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Knoxville, TN

Job Description

Full job description

Requisition Id 12855


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate for Biomaterial Development who will focus on design, processing and characterization of bio-composite materials composed of biomass (eg. micro/nano-cellulose, natural fibers like hemp) and polymers (e.g. polylacti acid, polypropylene). Under general supervision, the candidate will conduct experimental research around lignocellulosic processing, thermoplastic processing (eg. melt-mixing, extrusion, injection, or compression molding), composite preparation, evaluation of thermal, mechanical and rheological properties, and related characterization techniques for understanding structure-processing-property relationships of materials. This position resides in the Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies Group in the Composite Technology Section, Manufacturing Sciences Division, and the Energy Science and Technology Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)!

As part of our team, you will carry out high quality R&D around biocomposite materials and their manufacturing for different applications into the aerospace, automotive, and marine/shipbuilding industries. Of special interest to our group is the high-volume use of bioplastics and biomass-derived fibers and filler for high speed, high volume composite fabrication processes. The successful candidate will support and soon lead research into novel processing and manufacturing methods for high volume biocomposite materials; conduct melt-mixing, extrusion, composites sample preparation, structure, and properties characterizations. The successful candidate will also publish original peer reviewed research articles, work in multiple projects, work with other team members and supervise students.

Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Develop nano- to mm-scale natural fiber feedstocks for processing into high throughput manufacturing processes.

  • Advance knowledge on the drying and dispersion of cellulose based materials in thermoplastic composites.

  • Advanced knowledge of interfacial adhesion of cellulose with various thermoplastics

  • Utilize polymer and composite engineering as well as polymer chemistry for a wide variety of manufacturing technologies, such as melt compounding, extrusion, injection molding, compression molding and blow molding.

  • Design and develop polymer composites structures, and test newly developed materials.

  • Manufacture composite demonstration and test articles and conduct tests to measure thermomechanical properties of manufactured materials and samples.

  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner.

  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements.

  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics

  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.

Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in materials science and engineering, mechanical and chemical engineering, polymer science and engineering, chemistry or a related discipline completed within the last five years.

  • Experience with polymer chemistry, composites, polymer processing.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience and knowledge in lignocellulosic and polymer processing and modification, polymer blends and nanocomposites.

  • Experience and expertise in micro/nano-cellulose dewatering/drying and dispersion into polymers.

  • Experience and expertise in composite processing, fabrication, and characterization. The ideal candidate has experience with compounding or extrusion of thermoplastic polymers.

  • Experience and expertise with analytical characterization techniques such as DSC, FTIR, TGA, DMA, EDS, XRD, Rheology, electron and optical microscopy.

  • Familiar with Microsoft Office (which includes Word, PowerPoint and Excel), Origin, Photoshop, 3D Max, Auto CAD etc.

  • An excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals.

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience.

  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative and frequently interacting teams of researchers.

  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs.

Special Requirements:

Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.

Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position. Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You may upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.

Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via

  • View Profile

  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document

Benefits at ORNL:

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.

Other benefits include the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.

If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply. UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Job Tags

Holiday work, Full time, Relocation package, Flexible hours,

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