The Philadelphia Section of the STLE has awarded a $2,000 scholarship to Lehigh University graduate student Mark Sidebottom.
Sidebottom is a fourth-year PhD student working under the direction of Prof. Brandon Krick.
Sidebottom’s dissertation project is to study the wear and friction properties of perfluoroalkoxy (PFA) polymer-alumina composites in collaboration with DuPont researchers. He has shown how the addition of 5% of porous alumina microparticles reduces wear by 104 while maintaining the low friction of PFA. This work has significant commercial potential as PFA polymers can be readily injection molded into various parts unlike other fluoropolymers which are compression molded and machined into shape. He presented his results at the 2017 STLE Annual Meeting where he received an STLE Early Career Award. Sidebottom has also been a regular attendee of Philadelphia Section meetings.
In addition to his own research, Sidebottom was deeply involved in setting up the laboratory including designing and construction a linear reciprocating tribometer. He has also been a mentor for other graduate and undergraduate students in the group.
In addition to his thesis work, Sidebottom recently collaborated with a paleontologist to publish a paper investigating the tribological properties of triceratops teeth and dental tissues and their effects on the biomechanics of chewing.