Joseph C. Furgal
Joseph C. Furgal, PH.D.
409 Physical Sciences Laboratory Building
Joined the faculty in 2017
Ph.D, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 
B.S., University of Detroit, Detroit, MI 
Polymer Photochemistry/Physics, Hybrid Polymers/Oligomers, Silicon Containing Materials, Dynamic Covalent Chemistry, Self Healing Hydrid Materials, Molecular Separations, High Surface Area Hybrids, Polymer Photocopying
Organic photochemicals combined with silicon based materials such as silicones and silsesquioxanes give hybrid materials with properties not available in either category on its own. Higher thermal and oxidative stability is achieved from the addition of silicon to organics and access to the large pool of functional groups and reactivities in organic systems lacking in silicon based chemistries. The two projects below build on fluoride catalyzed silsesquioxane chemistry and light driven dynamic covalent chemistries to develop new materials with uses from health care to space exploration.
Research Focus Areas:
Photochemical Mediated Self-Healing and Assembly of Hybrid Macromolecules. In our group we combine the aspects of light and catalyst driven dynamic covalent chemistries in the development of self-healing hybrid (organo-silicon) based polymeric materials. Our research will look at the incorporation and development of reversible photo-responsive cross-linkers (i.e. HABI) embedded covalently into the silicone matrix. These materials have potential uses in light driven regeneration of thin film coatings, fatigue based stress sensors useful for many military applications in soldier protection, as well as self-healability for long lasting materials in high tech and medical applications, particularly use in locations not easily accessible for replacement such as at the bottom of the sea, in space and within the body.
Molecular Separation Techniques Based on Hybrid Polymeric Materials. The second project area in our group looks at high performance separation methods different to separate small molecules such as chiral drugs and small gas molecules such as CO2. Our vision looks to using organic functionalized silsesquioxane based network polymers made by fluoride catalysis to achieve these goals. This research direction has long standing precedent both in reducing harmful side effects by separating active and inactive/toxic enantiomers in active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to develop the next generation and lower price of future drugs; as well as the tunability to contribute to lowering atmospheric green house gas concentrations.
Furgal, J. C. Polymers Course for Small Colleges and Universities. J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 2018, 048 (01), 30–35. https://doi.org/10.2505/4/jcst18_048_01_30.
Furgal, J. C.; Lenora, C. U. Green Routes to Silicon-Based Materials and Their Environmental Implications. Phys. Sci. Rev. 2019, 5 (1), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1515/psr-2019-0024.
Hu, N. H.; Lenora, C. U.; May, T. A.; Hershberger, N. C.; Furgal, J. C. In Situ Formed Methyl- Co -(Bis-R) Silsesquioxane Based Polymer Networks with Solvent Controlled Pore Size Distributions and High Surface Areas. Mater. Chem. Front. 2020, 4 (3), 851–861. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9qm00748b.
Hu, N.; Furgal, J. C. R-Silsesquioxane-Based Network Polymers by Fluoride Catalyzed Synthesis : An Investigation of Cross-Linker Structure and Its Influence on Porosity. Materials (Basel). 2020, 13, 1849. https://doi.org/doi:10.3390/ma13081849.
Lenora, C. U.; Hu, N.; Furgal, J. C. Thermally Stable Fluorogenic Zn(II) Sensor Based on a Bis(Benzimidazole)Pyridine-Linked Phenyl-Silsesquioxane Polymer. ACS Omega 2020, 5 (51), 33017–33027. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.0c04366.
Hu, N.; Furgal, J. C. Photoreversible Loading and Unloading of Q – Silsesquioxane Dynamic Network Sponges. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2021, 2010114, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202010114.