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Some of the research interests Dr. Wan specializes in are:

  • Cellular biomechanics: Mechanical characterization and adhesion measurements of cancer cells, bacterial strains, drug delivery micro-capsules / liposomes, murine oocytes, biological tissues
  • Water filtration: Adhesion, physisorption-chemisorption of pathogens to collector (sand) in the presence of intersurface forces and liquid flow through a porous medium
  • Thin film adhesion and characterization: Mechanical reliability and lifespan of coated or encapsulated micro-/nano-devices, microelectronics parts, grapheme devices, photovoltaic panels, electrospun fiber meshes (armor protection fabrics), nano-structures
  • Subsurface mechano-sensing: Mechanics of palpation to detect solid inclusion in soft tissues (e.g. breast cancer) in association with X-ray mammography, mechanical instability of lesion due to large elastic deformation and visco-rubber-elasticity
  • Shell adhesion: Mechanical behavior and adhesion-detachment of natural (e.g. cornea) and artificial shells (e.g. contact lenses)
  • Fundamental intersurface forces: Contact mechanics, adhesion mechanics, and colloidal science, fracture and delamination in the presence of long range surface forces and water meniscus, application in electronics and biomedical sciences


  • Ph.D. (1993), Chemical Physics, University of Maryland at College Park
  • B.Sc. (1st Hon), Physics, University of New South Wales, Australia

Research & Scholarship Interests

Cellular biomechanics; water filtration; thin film adhesion and characterization; subsurface mechano-sensing; shell adhesion; fundamental intersurface forces
Affiliated With

Department Research Areas

College Research Initiatives

Honors & Awards

  • 2014 COE Faculty Fellow
  • 2006 Faculty Excellence Award, Missouri University of Science and Technology MST
  • 2006 AMAE Faculty Excellence Award, Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers, MST
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award

Teaching Interests

  • Mechanics of Cells and Tissues
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers International
  • American Society of Engineering Education
  • Adhesion Society

Selected Publications

  • J. Sun, N. Tandogan, A.Z. Gu, Sinan Müftü, E.D. Goluch, K.-T. Wan, Quantification of Colloidal Filtration of Polystyrene Micro-Particles on Glass Substrate Using a Microfluidic Device, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 165, 2018, 381–387
  • J. Sun, S. Müftü, A.Z. Gu, K.-T. Wan, Intersurface Adhesion in the Presence of Capillary Condensation, Journal of Applied Mechanics, 85, 2018, 061009
  • W. Wang, J.V. Gray, S.E. Julien, K.-T. Wan, Mechanical Characterization of a Convex Shell (Contact Lens) with Meridional Thickness Variation, Experimental Mechanics, 58(6), 2018, 997–1002
  • T. Zhu, G. Li, S. Müftü, K.-T. Wan, One-Dimensional Constrained Blister Test to Measure Thin Film Adhesion, Journal of Applied Mechanics, 85, 2018, 054501
  • T. Zhu, G. Li, S. Müftü, K.-T. Wan, Revisiting the Constrained Blister Test to Measure Thin Film Adhesion, Journal of Applied Mechanics, 84, 2017, 071005
  • X. Wang, B. Li, J. Hao, Y.J. Jung, K.-T. Wan, Mechanical Characterization of Suspended Strips of Meshed Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes, Journal of Applied Physics, 119, 2017, 045305

Related News

April 8, 2019

MIE PhD student Scott Julien, who works in Professor Kai-Tak Wan's Micro/Nano Bio-Mechanical Characterization Lab, was featured in the Science Times article "A New Model Can Predict the Shape of a Squeezed Nanocrystal When Blanketed Under Graphene".

July 27, 2017

MIE PhD students Jianfeng Sun, Ran Ran, and undergraduate student Derek Tran have created a new microscope analyzer to test water for contaminants quicker than conventional methods. Source: News @...

July 19, 2017

MIE Professors Kai-Tak Wan and Sinan Muftu were awarded a $350K NSF grant to explore the "Mechanics of fusion of dissimilar lipid bilayers and multi-lamellar vesicles". This is part of a...