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Faculty Profile


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

  • T. Zhu, G. Li, S. Müftü, Kai-Tak 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
  • M. Robitaille, N. Belisle, S. Dang, E. Faigle, C. Morck, P. Uth, K.-T. Wan, An Optical Topographic Technique to Map the 3-D Deformed Profile of a Convex Lens Under External Loading, Experimental Mechanics, 55, 2015, 641-646
  • L. Sallaway, S. Magee, J. Shi, F. Quivira, K. Tgavalekos, D.H. Brooks, S. Muftu, W. Meleis, R.H. Moore, D. Kopans, K.-T. Wan, Detecting Solid Masses in Phantom Breast Using Mechanical Indentation, Experimental Mechanics, 54, 2014, 935-942
  • Y. Li, X. Wang, A. Onnis-Hayden, K.-T. Wan, A.Z. Gu, Universal Quantifier Derived from AFM Analysis Links Cellular Mechanic Properties and Cell−Surface Integration Forces with Microbial Deposition and Transport Behavior, Environmental Science and Technology, 48, 2014, 1769-1778

Related News

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...

November 1, 2016

MIE Professor Kai-tak Wan was awarded a patent for his "Equi-biaxial membrane stretcher".