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Research Spotlight

Karen Winey

Karen Winey
Materials Science and Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Hybrid cars are not an uncommon sight in today’s times. But, some in industry claim that electric cars, which use fuel cells that harness electricity from chemical reactions, will phase out the need for gasoline in automobiles altogether. Karen Winey, professor in the departments of materials science and engineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering, is working to create technology for an efficient, low-temperature fuel cell by creating better polymers using nanotechnology. These polymers are a special group known as ion-containing polymers or ionomers, which carry the ability to conduct an electrical charge across their surfaces. Although these ionomers are already used to conduct electricity generated by the reactions in a fuel cell, Winey is the head of the first group to use scanning transmission electron microscopy to image the placement and conductivity of the electrons in existing ionomers. The results of this research are then used to map out a combination of the ionomers with carbon nanotubes, which are stronger than steel and conduct electrical current better than copper, to create even more efficient ionomers for fuel cell membranes. This will allow for cleaner and greener automobiles and fuel cells with longer lives.


Penn Resources

Society of Women Engineers
Women in Computer Science (WICS)
Penn Women’s Biomedical Society
Penn Women In Technology
Penn Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (PGWISE)
Penn Women's Center
Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women
Women's Studies and The Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality
Trustee’s Council of Penn Women

Articles and Publications

Barriers and Enablers for Women in Engineering
Harvard University's Women in the Sciences Study
A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT
Meeting on Equitable Treatment of Women Faculty in Science and Engineering
Report of the Congressional Commission on Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development
A Study of Women's Persistance in the First Year of a CS Program in a Selective University
A Report on the Status of Women in Information Technology

For High School Girls

Engineer Your Life
Braincake 4000
Years of Women in Science
Women in Computer Science

More Resources

National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT)
Latinas & Tecnología de la Información Website (NCWIT)
Faculty For The Future
Grace Hopper Conference
Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE)
Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN)
Association for Women in Science (AWIS)
Women in Technology International (WITI)
Association for Women in Mathematics
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Women of the Week Blog
Anita Borg Instutite for Women and Technology