John Tsavalas

Research Assistant Professor
Materials Science Program
Parsons Hall N217
23 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-2293


  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, 2001, Georgia Institute of Technology
    M.S. Chemical Engineering, 1998, Georgia Institute of Technology
    B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1996, University of Virginia
    Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, 2001, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • M.S. Chemical Engineering, 1998, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1996, University of Virginia


John Tsavalas is a Polymer Reaction Engineer with particular emphasis in polymer colloids.  He is the co-director of the Nanostructured Polymers Research Center at UNH and of the UNH Latex Morphology Industrial Consortium.  For the month of June 2012, he was a Visiting Professor at Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, in the LCPP group, invited by Professors Timothy McKenna and Bernadette Charleux. In 2011 he was the co-organizer of the International Polymer Colloids Group Conference, held on the campus of UNH, and he has recently been named to be the co-chair of the Polymer Reaction Engineering Conference in 2015 and the chair of the same conference in 2018.  Prior to joining University of New Hampshire's Materials Science Program he was a Senior Research Scientist at The Dow Chemical Company where he worked on a wide variety of polymer colloid related R&D with particular emphasis on nanostructured latex particles, beforewhich he was a Visiting Scholar in Polymer Chemistry at Eindhoven Technical University in The Netherlands just following his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA.

Teaching Interests:

Professor Tsavalas has taught courses in Macromolecular Characterization (MSP910), Bio and Polymer Colloids (BMCB799H), Emulsion Polymerization (MSP895, Independent Study), and a variety of short courses.

Research Areas:


  • Dynamic modeling of colloidal interactions, film formation, & evolution of multi-phase morphology
  • Dynamic modeling of reaction kinetics, macromolecular architecture development, phase separation, and particle morphology development for colloidal synthesis
  • Hydroplasticization of copolymers and impact on diffusion, phase separation, and viscoelastic properties
  • Distribution of water within polymer colloids

Experimental Synthesis & Reactions

  • Control of colloidal morphology in polymeric nanoparticle synthesis (encapsulation, multi-component structured latex, hollow latex, hybrid (alkyd/acrylic, PU/acrylic) latex, etc.)
  • Colloids derived from sustainable starting materials
  • Stimuli-responsive coatings and composites (e.g. self-healing coatings)
  • Molecular and macromolecular architecture control by living free-radical polymerization

Select Publications:

  • Lei, Y.; Child, J.R.; Tsavalas, J.G., "Design and Analysis of the Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Distribution of Water Confined Within Colloidal Polymer Particles", Colloid and Polymer Science (2013), Volume 291, Issue 1, pp 143-156, DOI: 10.1007/s00396-012-2693-z
  • Sanchez-Silva, L.; Tsavalas, J.G.; Sundberg, D.C.; Sanchez, P.; Rodriguez, J.F, "Synthesis and Characterization of Paraffin Wax Microcapsules with Acrylic-Based Polymer Shells", Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2010), 49, 12204–12211, DOI: 10.1021/ie101727b
  • Jiang, B.; Tsavalas, J. G.; Sundberg, D. C., “Measuring the Glass Transition of Latex Based Polymers in the Hydroplasticized State via Differential Scanning Calorimetry”, Langmuir (2010), 26 (12), pp 9408–9415, DOI: 10.1021/la100425
  • Stubbs, J. M.; Tsavalas, J. G.; Carrier, R. H.; Sundberg, D. C., “The Structural Evolution of Composite Latex Particles during Starve-Fed Emulsion Polymerization: Modeling and Experiments for Kinetically Frozen Morphologies”, Macromolecular Reaction Engineering, Volume 4, Issue 6-7, pages 424–431, June 25, (2010), DOI: 10.1002/mren.200900081
  • Tsavalas, J. G.; Sundberg, D. C., “Hydroplasticization of Polymers – Model Predictions and Application to Emulsion Polymers”, Langmuir (2010), 26 (10), pp 6960–6966, DOI: 10.1021/la904211e
  • Augustyniak, A.; Tsavalas, J.; Ming, W., "Early Detection of Steel Corrosion via “Turn-On” Fluorescence in Smart Epoxy Coatings", ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces (2009), 1, n11, 2618-2623. This work was also highlighted on Chemical & Engineering News (American Chemical Society weekly magazine, Oct. 26, 2009), DOI: 10.1021/am900527s