2019 Scholarship Winner Feature – Brantley Balsamo

Lehigh University Student Receives Philadelphia STLE Award

L to R: Committee Member Bill Tuszynski; Scholarship Awardee Brantley Balsamo

The Philadelphia Section of the STLE is pleased to recognize Lehigh University student Brantley Balsamo as the recipient of a $500 scholarship. Balsamo is a Bioengineering major with a minor in Mechanics of Materials.

Balsamo has conducted tribology research under the direction of Prof. Brandon Krick both in the summer and during the academic year. His research has been aimed at understanding and optimizing the wear resistance and frictional properties of polymer composites.

Working with PTFE composites, Balsamo has prepared materials which have more than three orders of magnitude better wear resistance than PTFE. He has incorporated new processing techniques such as jet milling, cryo milling, and cryo grinding in producing these ultra-low wear PTFE composites.

In order to better understand why these materials show enhanced wear-resistance, Balsamo characterized the effects of sliding on the surface chemical composition using Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy.

Balsamo’s current project work is to investigate the effect of the order of processing events on wear and friction, including micro-structure analysis of the polymer samples after wear testing.