image of Ronald Larson

Ronald G. Larson

George Granger Brown Professor


[email protected]

(734) 936-0772


Chemical Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Macromolecular Science and Engineering

NCRC B-10 A150
2800 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

Additional Title(s)

A.H. White Distinguished University Professor

Primary Website

Larson Lab


University of Minnesota
PhD Chemical Engineering ’80
MS Chemical Engineering ’77
BS Chemical Engineering ’75


Married to Bebe with children Rachel, Emily, Andrew and Eric.

Research Interests

Rheology and Flow of Complex Fluids. Many everyday substances are not readily classified as solids or liquids, but have flow properties (i.e., rheology) somewhere in between. Such fluids typically have a polymeric or colloidal microstructure much larger than the atomic which dominates the rheological (i.e., flow) properties. Through rheological experiments, theory, and computer simulations, the Larson group is working out the relationship between the structure of these complex fluids and their rheology. Such knowledge is valuable in the optimal design of such fluids for applications in the polymer, pharmaceutical, and consumer products industries. Of particular interest at present are branched polymer melts, surfactant solutions, coating fluids, colloids and biopolymers. The group has current projects on the rheology of surfactant solutions, including those used in shampoos and body washes, and on the interfacial action of dispersants used in oil-spill clean up. We also have a project to determine how best to control the rheology of latex coatings. We are developing advanced theories for the rheological properties of entangled polymers with long-chain branching. We also helping design novel methods of high-speed manufacture of nanofibers, using rotary jet spinning. The work includes experimental, theoretical and computational components.

Molecular Simulations of Complex Fluids and Materials. Our group has multiple projects involving molecular simulations of polymers, surfactants, and colloids. These include molecular dynamics simulations at the atomistic level, starting from interactions between atoms derived in part from ab initio (quantum mechanical) calculations, coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations, Brownian dynamics simulations, Stochastic Rotation Dynamics and Stokesian dynamics simulations. We are specifically looking at polymers in strong flows, at levels of resolution ranging from atomistic simulations of short chains to Brownian dynamics simulations of very long chains. This includes simple flows as well as flows of polymers through complex geometries, such as channels with contractions. We are also simulating self-assembling colloids, where anisotropic interactions between particles allow unique structures to self assemble and re-configure. We are carrying out atomistic and coarse-grained simulations of latex particle dispersions to better control their flow properties. We are simulating the interactions between drugs and cellulosic polymers used to optimize their release in the body.

Polyelectrolyte Interactions. We are studying the complexes formed by polymers of opposite charge, which are used to make layer-by-layer assemblies used for drug delivery or structured materials. A special case is that of negatively charged DNA interacting with either positively charged proteins or positively charged nanoparticles. In particular, we are examining the process by which such proteins find their target sites along double-stranded DNA molecules, using both single-molecule imaging methods and theory.

Graduate Students

Weizhong Zou
Wenjun Huang
Ali Salehi
Kyle Huston
Maziar Mohammadi
Soroush Moghadam
Abdulrazaq Adams
Ryan Hall
Nisha Hollingsworth
Grace Tan
Yufei Wei

Post docs

Elnaz Hajizadeh
Hossein Rezvantalab
Ryan Marson
Taraknath Mandal

Visiting Scholars

Yunlong Guo
Yuanding Huang
Yaoqi Shi


Professional Experience

University of Michigan
Chemical Engineering Department
Ann Arbor, Michigan

A.H. White Distinguished University Professor of Chemical Engineering, 2014-
George Granger Brown Professor, 2000-
Chair, 2000-2008
Professor, 1996-

University of Michigan
Macromolecular Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Bell Laboratories
Member of Technical Staff, 1980-1996

Professional Service

AIChE Professional Progress Award Committee, 1999-2000
American Institute of Chemical Engineering

Ford Prize Committee, 1997-1998
American Physical Society

Fluid Mechanics Steering Committee, 1990-1995, 2001-present
American Institute of Chemical Engineering

Editorial Board – Rheol. Acta, 1994–present

Executive Committee, 1991-2001
Society of Rheology

President, Society of Rheology, 1997-1999
Society of Rheology

Courses Taught


ChE 341 – Undergrad. Fluid Mechanics (shared)
ChE 342 – Mass and Heat Transfer
ChE 466 – Process Dynamics and Control


ChE 527 – Fluid Flow
ChE 629 – Complex Fluids
ChE 696/EECS 598 Biological Application of Micro- and Nanofluidics
Extension Courses (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand)

Polymer Rheology (shared)
Polymer Physics (shared)


William H. Walker Award for Excellence in Contributions to Chemical Engineering Literature, 2020
American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Polymer Physics Prize, 2019
American Physical Society

Department of Chemical Engineering Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award, 2017
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan

Distinguished University Professorship, 2013
University of Michigan

Stephen S. Attwood Award, College of Engineering, 2013
University of Michigan

Member, 2003
National Academy of Engineering

Bingham Medal, 2002
Society of Rheology

Alpha Chi Sigma Award, 2000
American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Publication Award, Journal of Rheology, 1999

Excellence Award, 1998
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan

Prudential Distinguished Visiting Fellow, 1996
Cambridge University, England

Fellow, 1994
American Physical Society

Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, 1988
Bell Labs



Structure and Rheology of Molten Polymers: From Structure to Flow Behavior and Back Again, Hanser Gardner (2006)

Constitutive Equations for Polymer Melts and Solutions , Out of Print, photocopied versions can be ordered by email for a $20 fee for photocopy expenses from Ron Larson at [email protected]

The Structure and Rheology of Complex Fluids , Oxford University Press (1999)

Recent Journal Publications

W.J. Huang, Mandal, T., and R.G. Larson, Molecular Pharmaceutics 14:733-745 2017 “Computational Modeling of Hydroxypropyl-Methylcellulose Acetate Succinate (HPMCAS) and Phenytoin Interactions: A Systematic Coarse-Graining Approach.”

Y. Wei, M.J. Solomon, and R.G. Larson, J. Rheol. 60:1301-1315, 2016 “Quantitative Nonlinear Thixotropic Model with Stretched Exponential Response in Transient Shear Flows.”

H. Rezvantalab, D.J. Beltran-Villegas, and R.G. Larson, Phys. Rev. Lett., 117:128001 2016 “Rotator-to-Lamellar Phase Transition in Janus Colloids Driven by Pressure Anisotropy.”

A. Salehi, P. and R.G. Larson, Macromolecules 49:9706-9719 2016 “A Molecular Thermodynamic Model of Complexation in Mixtures of Oppositely Charged Polyelectrolytes with Explicit Account of Charge Association/Dissociation.”

F. Yuan and R.G. Larson J. Phys. Chem. B. 119:12540-12551 2015 “Multiscale Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Model Hydrophobically Modified Ethylene Oxide Urethane Micelles.”

P.S. Desai, B.-G. Kang, M. Katzarova, R. Hall, Q.F. Huang, S. Lee, M. Shivokhin, T. Chang, D.C. Venerus, J. Mays, J.D. Schieber, and R.G. Larson, Macromolecules 49:4964-4977 2016 “Challenging Tube and Slip-Link Models: Predicting the Linear Rheology of Well-Characterized Star and Linear 1,4-Polybutadienes.”

C.A.S. Batista, R.G. Larson, and N.A. Kotov, Science 350:6257 2015 “Nonadditivity of Nanoparticle Interactions.”

T. Mandal, R. Marson, and R.G. Larson, Soft Matter, 12: 8246-8255 2016 “Coarse-grained Modeling of Crystal Growth and Polymorphism of a Model Pharmaceutical Molecule.”

S. Wang, and R.G. Larson, Langmuir, 31:1262-1271, 2015 “Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Self-Assembly and Surface Adsorption of Surfactants Using an Implicit Water Model.”

F. Yuan, S. Wang, and R.G. Larson Langmuir, 31:1336-1343, 2015 “Potentials of Mean Force and Escape Times of Surfactants from Micelles and Hydrophobic Surfaces Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations.”

D.J. Beltran-Villegas, D.J. Schultz, B.A. Nguyen, H.P. Nguyen, S.C. Glotzer, and R.G. Larson, Soft Matter 10:4593-4602 2014 “Phase Behavior of Janus Colloids Determined by Sedimentation Equilibrium.” (cover article)

J. Liu and R.G. Larson, J. Chem. Phys. 138:174904 2013 “Brownian Dynamics Method for Simulation of Binding Kinetics of Patterned Colloidal Spheres with Hydrodynamic Interactions.”