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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Cool. Fuel.

Francis Dunne


My Story

I grew up in the California Bay Area just outside the heart of Silicon Valley, which always felt just out of reach. However, the hustle and innovation could be felt all around and, at times, even be overwhelming. In truth, it wasn’t until I left that I gained a real appreciation for growing up in that environment. I came to Washington State University because of the stark contrast between Pullman and my hometown. Where California was warm and buzzing with energy, Pullman was cold, quiet, and calm. At the time, it felt like both an adventure to experience something new as well as an excellent place to study. While it certainly was not an easy adjustment, I have come to truly love the Palouse over my four years here and am very excited to pursue my Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering in Dr. Jacob Leachman’s lab.

During my first semester at WSU, I was planning on being a Mechanical Engineer. During that semester, I decided to take MSE 110, which was an introductory course in Materials Science and Engineering. I had no idea what to expect but quickly fell in love with the field as a whole and switched my major for my second semester of my freshman year. I immediately gravitated towards polymer science and engineering and chose to work in a research lab which emphasized polymer manufacturing. Most of my research consisted of electrospinning corn protein (Zein) to make biodegradable air filtration systems to characterize then optimize removal of chemical and particulate pollution. An important part of that experience was an opportunity to develop my skills as a scientific writer. I finished my undergraduate degree in December of 2019.


My plans

In March of 2020 I was lucky enough to be hired by Dr. Leachman to assist with a few writing projects in the lab. After helping with both the writing projects as well as research focused on cryogenic propellant management devices, I will officially be starting my Ph.D. in the Hyper lab beginning in August of 2020. While I am still very new to the lab, I am incredibly excited to be here and look forward to starting my own project. My research will involve manufacturing strategies for polymer thin films with oxide surfaces, and their benefits in cryogenic storage and propulsion systems.

Selected Publications

Ding, Chenfeng, Lingbo Huang, Xiaodong Yan, Francis Dunne,     Song Hong, Jinle Lan, Yunhua Yu, Wei-Hong Zhong, and   Xiaoping Yang. “Robust, Superelastic Hard Carbon with In Situ Ultrafine Crystals.” Advanced Functional Materials 30, no. 3 (2020): 1907486.

Fan, Xin, Yu Wang, Min Zheng, Francis Dunne, Tian Liu, Xuewei Fu, Lushi Kong, Siyi Pan, and Wei-Hong Zhong. “Morphology Engineering of Protein Fabrics for Advanced and Sustainable Filtration.” Journal of Materials Chemistry A 6, no. 43 (November 6, 2018): 21585–95.

Fu, Xuewei, Francis Dunne, Min Chen, and Wei-Hong Zhong. “A Wet-Processed, Binder-Free Sulfur Cathode Integrated with a Dual-Functional Separator for Flexible Li–S Batteries.” Nanoscale 12, no. 9 (March 5, 2020): 5483–93.

Liu, Juejing, Francis O. Dunne, Xin Fan, Xuewei Fu, and Wei-Hong Zhong. “A Protein-Functionalized Microfiber/Protein Nanofiber Bi-Layered Air Filter with Synergistically Enhanced Filtration Performance by a Viable Method.” Separation and Purification Technology 229 (December 15, 2019): 115837.