Materials Science & Engineering

Marek W. Urban

Marek Urban

J.E. Sirrine Foundation Endowed Chair and Professor

Polymer Science, Stimuli-Responsive Materials, Spectroscopy

Phone: (864) 656-1155; (864) 656-0549
Office: 208 AMRL Building; 299A Sirrine Hall

Recent Publications & Awards

  • Distinguished Professorship Award; Shandong N. University, China (2009)
    Outstanding Research Faculty Award; University of Southern Mississippi (2007)
    Distinguished LETTERS Scholar; University of Southern Mississippi (2003)
    Distinguished Alumni Lectureship Award; Michigan Technological University (2002)
    Roon Foundation Award; Federation of Societies for Coating Technologies (1999)
    The William Megger Award, Applied Spectroscopy Journal (2000)
    3M Company Young Faculty Awards (1987-93)

    Books (Author)
    M.W.Urban, "Vibrational Spectroscopy of Molecules and Macromolecules on Surfaces," John Wiley & Sons, 1993.
    M.W.Urban, "Attenuated Total Reflectance Spectroscopy of Polymeric Materials; Theory and Practice," American Chemical Society, 1996.
    M.W. Urban, Laboratory Handbook of Organic Coatings, Global Press, Chicago, IL, 1997.

    Books (Editor)
    M.W. Urban, Handbook of Stimuli-Responsive Materials, Wiley-VCH, Verlag & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany, 2011.
    M.W. Urban, Two-Volume Guest Editor; Progress in Polymer Science; Stimuli-Responsive Materials Special Issue, Elsevier, UK, Jan.Feb. 2010.
    M.W. Urban, Ed., Stimuli-Responsive Polymeric Films and Coatings, ACS Symposium Series #912, Oxford University Press and American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 2005.
    T. Provder and M.W.Urban, Eds., Film Formation, ACS Symposium Series #790, Oxford University Press and American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 2001. 
    T. Provder, M.A.Winnik, and M.W.Urban, Eds., Film Formation in Waterborne Coatings, ACS Symposium Series #648, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1996.
    M.W. Urban and T. Provder, Eds., Multidimensional Spectroscopy of Polymers; Vibrational, NMR, and Fluorescence Techniques, ACS Symposium Series #598, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1995.
    T.Provder, H.G.Barth, and M.W.Urban, Eds., Hyphenated Techniques in Polymer Characterization, ACS Symposium Series #581, American Chemical Society, Washington, 1994.
    M.W.Urban and C.D.Craver, Eds., Structure-Property Relations in Polymers; Spectroscopy and Performance, Advances Chem. Series, #236, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC,1993.


  • Selected Research Publications

    Y.Yang and M.W.Urban, “Thermodynamics of Self-Healable Polymeric Materials,” Eds. W.C. Hayes and B.W.Greenland, Royal Society of Chemistry Series, 2013.
    B.Ghosh, K.V. Chellappan, M.W.Urban, “UV-Initiated Self-Healing of Oxolane-Chitosan Polyurethane (OXO-CHI-PUR) Networks,” J. Mater. Chem, 2012, 22, 16104-16113
    M.W. Urban, “Dynamic materials: The Chemistry of Self-Healing,” Nature Chem., 2012, 4, 80-82. 
    S. Kawano, and M.W.Urban, “Expandable Temperature-Responsive Polymeric Nanotubes,” 2011, ACS Macroletters, 2012, 1(1), 232-235.
    D. Ramachandran, F. Liu, M.W.Urban, “Self-Healing Copolymers that Change Color,” RSC Advances, 2012, 2, 135-143.
    B.Ghosh, K.V. Chellappan, M.W.Urban, “Self-Healing Inside a Scratch of Oxetane-Substituted Chitosan-Polyuretheane (OXE-CHI-PUR) Networks,” J. Mater. Chem. 2011, 21, 4473-14486.
    D. Ramachandran and M.W. Urban “Sensing Macromolecular Rearrangements in Polymer Networks by Photochromic Crosslinkers,” Invited Article to a Special Issue on Mechano-Responsive Polymers; J. Mat. Chem. 2011, 21, 8300-8308.
    F.Liu and M.W.Urban, “Synergistic Temperature and pH Effects on Stimuli-Responsive Transitions in poly(N-Acryloyl-N’-Propylpirerazine-co-2-Ethoxyethyl Methacrylate) Copolymers,” Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 963-969.
    C.C. Corten, M.W. Urban, “Shape Evolution Control of Phase-Separated Colloidal Nanoparticles,” Polym. Chem., 2010, 2, 244-250.
    F.Liu and M.W.Urban, “Glass (Tg) and Stimuli-Responsive (TSR) Transitions in Random Copolymers,” Macromolecules, 2010, 43(12), 5330-5337.
    F. Liu, D. Ramachandran and M.W. Urban, “Colloidal Films that Mimic Cilia,”  Adv. Fun. Mat., 2010, 20(18), 3163-3167.
    C. Corten, M.W. Urban, “Self-Repairing of Polymer Networks Induced by Oscillating Magnetic Fields,” Adv. Mat., 2009, 21, 5011-5015.
    B. Ghosh and M.W. Urban, “Self-Repairing Oxetane-Substituted Chitosan Polyurethane Networks,” Science, 2009, 323(5920), 1458-1460.



Postdoctoral; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1984-86
PhD Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Michigan, 1984.
M.S. Chemistry, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1981
MS/BS AGH University of Science and Technology, Materials Science, Cracow, Poland, 1979.


Our recent research interests focus on three major research themes: development of novel stimuli-responsive multi-component polymeric materials, in particular self-healing polymers, colloidal synthesis of heterogeneous phase-separated nano-particles capable of forming larger fibrotic networks, and controlled reactions on polymeric surfaces of fibers and other substrates using microwave plasma processes. The overarching theme is to understand molecular level processes that govern macro-events in materials, that begin approaching the sophistication observed in biological systems. Of particular interest are spatially synchronized sequential or concurrent synthetic steps in controlled heterogeneous polymer systems that can respond to external stimuli. For that reason our efforts also focus on the development of novel spectroscopic imaging capabilities utilizing vibrational spectroscopy that allow monitoring complex molecular events. While the website provides further details regarding specific research areas, our objective is to define new functions of stimuli-responsive materials that will positively impact many aspects of our societal needs.