We work in harsh environments and that means materials need to be higher quality and last for 10, 20 or even 30 years.
Ting Gao is a Senior Manager of Materials Engineering for TE Connectivity's (TE's) Advanced Technology Materials Group. She has been with TE for almost 11 years and holds a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of California, USA. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from Nanjing University, China.
What are you working on right now?
I am leading a composites material group to develop advanced polymeric materials that combine unique physical properties with good processing capabilities. Our team is currently working on making versatile materials with interesting properties that possess some processing advantages. For example, we are working on a conductive material that’s very flexible. This means that you can extrude this material as a thin sheet and cut it into any kind of shape. You can then apply those cut shapes onto clothing and, using a home iron, make the material adhere to it, creating conductive traces right there on the clothing! With this type of material, you can even add electro-electronic components and make a circuit. You can make it luminescent, add an LED to light it up, or add a sensor. The material will not only adhere to your clothing, it will also adhere to electrical components.
What do you enjoy about your work?
I enjoy the opportunities to explore new technology and to collaborate with different groups of people from various backgrounds.
What is the most fascinating advancement in materials science to you?
Nanotechnology, which can change the way we manufacture, or change the material properties previously inaccessible due to physical restriction. For example, people using nano materials for coating can make some materials stick to almost anything. So those kinds of things are very interesting and can change the future.
What trends in your area of expertise or in materials science will influence our industry over time?
The combination of unique materials with the right type of processing that can be scaled up.
In your opinion, what is the greatest invention of all time?
The World Wide Web; it completely changed the way we look for information or connect to each other.
What is your favorite movie related to engineering or science that you recommend our audience watch?
The movie Interstellar. It's a great movie to watch!