John Tsavalas

Research Assistant Professor
Materials Science Program & Affiliate in Chemistry
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 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, which now again will be held at UNH this June in 2015, and he is also the co-chair of the Polymer Reaction Engineering Conference in May 2015 (the chair of the same conference to come 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:

  • Tripathi, A.K.; Tsavalas, J.G.; Sundberg, D.C., “Monte Carlo Simulations of Free Radical Polymerizations with Divinyl Crosslinker: Pre- and Post-Gel Simulations of Reaction Kinetics and Molecular Structure", Macromolecules (2015) 48, 184−197, DOI: 10.1021/ma502085x
  • Tsavalas, J.G., "Emulsion Copolymerization (Also Leading to Core-Shell Structures)", in Encyclopedia of Polymeric Nanomaterials, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Eds. Shiro Kobayashi and Klaus Müllen (2014) 1-10,
  • Udagama R.; de las Heras Alarcón, C.; Keddie, J.L.; Tsavalas, J.G.; Bourgeat-Lami, E.; McKenna, T.F.L., “Acrylic-Alkyd Hybrids: Secondary Nucleation, Particle Structure and Limiting Conversions”, Macromolecular Reaction Engineering (2014) 8 (9), pp 622–638, DOI: 10.1002/mren.201400003
  • Tripathi, A.K; Tsavalas, J.G.; Sundberg, D.C., "Partitioning of Functional Monomers in Emulsion Polymerization: Distribution of Carboxylic Acid and Hydroxy (Meth)acrylate Monomers between Water and Polymers", Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2014) 53 (16), pp 6600–6612, DOI: 10.1021/ie500492q
  • Tripathi, A.K.; Tsavalas, J.G.; Sundberg, D.C., "Quantitative Measurements of the Extent of Phase Separation During and After Polymerization Using Differential Scanning Calorimetry", Thermochimica Acta (2013), Volume 568, pp 20–30, DOI: 10.1016/j.tca.2013.06.013
  • 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