Nidal Abu-Zahra, Ph.D.

profile photo
, nidal@uwm.edu
(414) 229-2668
Eng & Math Sciences E351
Associate Professor
Department Chair of Materials Science & Engineering

Dr. Nidal’s focus is on expanding our knowledge on contemporary issues such as cost effective harnessing of solar energy, sustainability of foam extrusion, and functionality of commodity plastics. His lab is capable of synthesizing an array of polymeric materials (thermoplastics, elastomers, and thermosets) with specific characteristics (physical, thermal, and mechanical) or functional properties. Currently, he is working on synthesizing new polymer and polymer-composite foams capable of removing heavy metal toxics from drinking water at low levels (ppb) and high cation exchange rates.

Education:

  • Ph.D. - Manufacturing Engineering, Cleveland State University (Ohio), 1996
  • M.S. - Mechanical Engineering, University of Manchester (UK), 1994
  • B.S. - Mechanical Engineering, University of Jordan (Jordan), 1992

Research Interests:

  • Thermoplastic extrusion and foaming processes
  • Polymer foam nanocomposites - synthesis and characterization
  • Water applications of polymer nanocomposites
  • Polymer solar cells
  • Polymer films and coatings

Journal Publications (2013-Present)

A. Energy (Polymer Solar Cells)

  1. Plasmonic Effect of Au Nanoparticles in Enhancing Power Conversion Efficiency of ZnO Buffer Layer Assembled Organic Solar Cells, Aruna Wanninayake, Benjamin Church, and Nidal Abu-Zahra. Journal of Sustainable Energy Engineering. Under Review 3/1/2016.
  2. Annealing Effect on ZnO-NPs Buffer Layer Assembled Organic Solar Cells synthesized with CuO Nanoparticles, Aruna Wanninayake, Benjamin Church, Nidal Abu-Zahra. Advanced Materials Letters. Under Review 2/15/2016.
  3. Effect of ZnO Nanoparticles on the Power Conversion Efficiency of Organic Photovoltaic Devices Synthesized with CuO Nanoparticles, Aruna Wanninayake, Benjamin Church, Nidal Abu-Zahra. Nano-Micro Letters. Under Review 1/27/2016.
  4. CuO Nanoparticles Based Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells: Investigations on Morphology and Performance, Aruna Wanninayake, Subhashini Gunashekar, Shengyi Li, Benjamin Church, Nidal Abu-Zahra, ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering
    137(3), 031016 (Jun 01, 2015) SOL-14-1293; doi: 10.1115/1.4029542.
  5. Performance Enhancement of Polymer Solar Cells using Copper Oxide Nanoparticles, Aruna Wanninayake, Subhashini Gunashekar, Shengyi Li, Benjamin Church, Nidal Abu-Zahra, Semiconductor Science and Technology, Volume 30, Number 622 May 2015.
  6. Effect of Thermal Annealing on the Power Conversion Efficiency of CuO-Bulk Heterojunction P3HT/ PC70BM Solar cells, Aruna Wanninayake, Subhashini Gunashekar, Shengyi Li, Benjamin Church, Nidal Abu-Zahra, Journal of Sustainable Energy Engineering, Volume 3, Number 2, November 2015, pp. 107-126(20).
  7. Electrical and Optical Properties of Hybrid Polymer Solar Cells Incorporating Au and CuO Nanoparticles, Aruna Wanninayake, Shengyi Li, Benjamin Church, Nidal Abu-Zahra, AIMS Materials Science, 3(1): 35-50. DOI: 10.3934/matersci.2016.1.35. December 2015.
  8. Thermal Annealing on P3HT/PC70BM Solar Cells Incorporated with Au and CuO Nanoparticales, Aruna Wanninayake, Shengyi Li, Benjamin Church, Nidal Abu-Zahra, International Journal of Renewable Energy Research-IJRER, Vol 5, No 4 (2015).
  9. Effect of n-dodecylthiol and thermal annealing on the performance of P3HT/PC70BM polymer photovoltaic cells, Mahmoud Algazzar and Nidal Abu-Zahra. Int. J. of Sustainable Energy, Published online: 03 Mar 2014, DOI: 10.1080/14786451.2014.885027
  10. "Enhancing Power Conversion Efficiency of P3HT/PCBM Polymer Solar Cells", Nidal Abu-Zahra and Mahmoud Algazzar. Int. J. of Chemical, Nuclear, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Vol:8 No:4, 2014
  11. Effect of Crystallinity on the Performance of P3HT/PC70BM/n-Dodecylthiol Polymer Solar Cells, Nidal Abu-Zahra and Mahmoud Algazzar. ASME Transactions - J. Sol. Energy Eng. 136(2), 021023 (Dec 19, 2013), doi:10.1115/1.4026100

B. Water (Heavy Metal Removal)

  1. Synthesis, Characterization and Performance of Polyurethane Foam Nanocomposite for Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water, Faten B. Hussein, Nidal H. Abu-Zahra. Environmental Science and Technology. Under Review 3/24/2016.
  2. Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water Using Polyurethane-Iron Oxide Nanocomposite: Evaluation of the Shape and Size of Adsorbents, Faten B. Hussein, Nidal H. Abu-Zahra. Separation and Purification Technology. Under Review 3/24/2016.
  3. Hydrothermal Synthesis of Hydroxy Sodalite from Fly Ash for the Removal of Lead Ions from Water, Saeed Golbad, Parisa Khoshnoud, Nidal Abu-Zahra. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. Under Review 3/7/2016.
  4. Structure“performance relationship of bulk functionalized polyurethane foams designed for lead ion removal from water, Subhashini Gunashekar and Nidal Abu-Zahra, Journal of Porous Materials, 09 February 2016, pp 1-10.
  5. Synthesis of Functionalized Polyurethane Foam using BES Chain Extender for Lead ion Removal from Aqueous Solutions, Subhashini Gunashekar and Nidal Abu-Zahra , Journal of Cellular Plastics, September-November 2015
    vol. 51 no. 5-6 453-470, Manuscript ID: JCP-13-0029.
  6. Liquid flow in polyurethane foams for filtration applications: a study on their characterization and permeability estimation, Subhashini Gunashekar, Krishna M. Pillai, Ben C. Church, Nidal H. Abu-Zahra, Journal of Porous Materials 22(3), May 2015.
  7. Characterization of Functionalized Polyurethane Foam for Lead ion Removal from Water, Subhashini Gunashekar and Nidal Abu-Zahra International Journal of Polymer Science, 10 March 2014, vol. 2014, Article ID 570309, doi:10.1155/2014/570309.
  8. Structurally Functionalized Polyurethane Foam for Elimination of Lead Ions from Drinking Water, Nidal Abu-Zahra and Subhashini Gunashekar, Journal of Research Updates in Polymer Science, 02 April 2014, 3, 16-25. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6000/1929-5995.2014.03.01.3.
  9. "Functionalized PU Foam for Water Filtration", Nidal Abu-Zahra and Subhashini Gunashekar, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Chemical, Molecular, Nuclear, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Vol:8, No:4, 2014
  10. "Synthesis and Characterization of Polyurethane (PUR)-Nanoclay Composites,"Manasa Nayani, Subhashini Gunashekar, and Nidal Abu-Zahra. International Journal of Polymer Science, Vol 2013 (2013), Article ID 717895.

C. Manufacturing (Reinforced Polymer Composites)

  1. Properties of Rigid PVC Foam Composites Reinforced with Different Shape Fillers, Parisa Khoshnoud and Nidal Abu-Zahra, Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials (manuscript ID is JTCM-15-0169.R1). Accepted for publication: 3/23/2016.
  2. Evaluating recyclability of fly ash reinforced polyvinyl chloride foams, Parisa Khoshnoud, Jon Carl Wolgamott, Nidal Abu-Zahra, Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology, 16 February 2016. doi:10.1002/vnl.21541.
  3. Effect of Cenosphere Fly Ash on the Thermal, Mechanical, and Morphological Properties of Rigid PVC Foam Composites, Parisa Khoshnoud and Nidal Abu-Zahra, Journal of Research Updates in Polymer Science, Vol 4, No 1 (2015).
  4. Enhanced Thermal Properties of Rigid PVC Foams Using Fly Ash, Nidal H. Abu-Zahra, Parisa Khoshnoud, Murtatha Jamel, Subhashini Gunashekar, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Chemical, Molecular, Nuclear, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Vol:9, No:1,
    2015
    .
  5. Evaluating the Performance of Class-F Fly Ash Reinforced PVC Foam Composites, Parisa Khoshnoud Murtatha M. Jamel Subhashini Gunashekar Nidal Abu-Zahra, International
    Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology, Vol. 4, Issue 9, September 2015.
  6. Enhancement of Dimensional Stability of Rigid PVC Foams Using E-Glass Fibers, Murtatha M. Jamel, Parisa Khoshnoud, Subhashini Gunashekar, Nidal Abu-Zahra, Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, 2015, 3, 65-75.
  7. Effect of E-Glass Fibers and Phlogopite Mica on the Mechanical Properties and Dimensional Stability of Rigid PVC Foams, Murtatha M. Jamel, Parisa Khoshnoud, Subhashini Gunashekar, Nidal Abu-Zahra, Polymer-Plastics Technology and Engineering, Volume 54, Issue 15, 2015. DOI:10.1080/03602559.2015.1010222.
  8. Enhanced Dimensional Stability of Rigid PVC Foams Using Glass Fibers, Nidal H. Abu-Zahra, Murtatha M. Jamel, Parisa Khoshnoud, Subhashini Gunashekar. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Chemical, Molecular, Nuclear, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Vol:9, No:1, 2015.
  9. Mechanical Properties and Dimensional Stability of Rigid PVC Foam Composites Filled with High Aspect Ratio Phlogopite Mica, Murtatha M. Jamel, Parisa Khoshnoud, Subhashini Gunashekar, Nidal Abu-Zahra. Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization, Vol.3 No.4, July 2015. DOI: 10.4236/jmmce.2015.34026.
  10. Comparative Analysis of Rigid PVC Foam Reinforced with Class C and Class F Fly Ash, Parisa Khoshnoud, Subhashini Gunashekar, Murtatha M. Jamel, Nidal Abu-Zahra, Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, Vol.02 No.06 (2014), Article ID:51164.

Community Involvement:

Connecting students with manufacturing companies in Milwaukee area on research and application projects.