James Runt is currently Professor Emeritus of Polymer Science in the MatSE Department at Penn State. Dr. Runt is the author of >230 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, as well as co-inventor on 8 issued patents on a cardiac support device. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. He was a co-editor of an ACS Symposium Series book: Polymers for Energy Storage and Delivery: Polyelectrolytes for Batteries and Fuel Cells, and an editor of the ACS Professional Reference Series book: Dielectric Spectroscopy of Polymeric Materials: Fundamentals and Applications. He received his Ph.D. degree from Penn State in Solid State Science, with a concentration in polymeric materials.
In general, Runt’s research interests focus on the relationship between polymer dynamics and nanoscale phase separation, and how these influence macroscopic properties and performance of multiphase polymer systems.
Many important devices in the expanding energy sector require materials that conduct ions through a medium, including actuators and batteries. For many next generation devices, single-ion polymer conductors (ionomers) are preferred for the creation of solid ion transport membranes. Together with MatSE colleagues, we have used dielectric (impedance) spectroscopy to develop molecular level understanding of ion transport and associated polymer dynamics in ionomers with various chemical structures.
For many years Runt and his research group explored the role of hard and soft segment chemistries on nanodomain phase separated morphology, unlike segment demixing, and polymer dynamics in polyurethane segmented block copolymers and chemically related polyureas. Polyurethane chemistries considered were chosen to reflect those of interest as blood-contacting materials in biomedical devices. Polyurea chemistries were chosen to reflect those of interest for protection against shock impact loading (and protection against traumatic brain injury).
Runt also has continued interest in the fundamental connection between semi-crystalline polymer composition, molecular orientation, the resulting morphology, and their dielectric properties (from the point of view of film capacitor applications). The latter include, among others, dielectric constant and loss as well as breakdown strength.