Advanced Films and Smart Packaging Systems Initiative

Case Western Reserve University’s Advanced Films and Smart Packaging Systems Initiative (AFSP) is poised to answer industry’s needs for the global packaging market. This initiative is based on research pioneered in CLiPS—the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Layered Polymeric Systems led by Case Western Reserve University researchers.

Email Pamela Bligh-Glover or call 216.368.5966 to learn more.

Researchers working with plastic film

Development of AFSP has involved deep discussions with representatives from more than 20 different corporations, which have shared their insights and advice with us. The time is right to become more involved.

Research themes address emerging priorities and reflect ongoing AFSP research projects, such as:

Safety and Security

>>Damage mitigation (fire, mechanical insult, environmental effects); anti-counterfeiting; ‘smart’ packaging

Selective Molecular and Material Transport

>>Gas and/or moisture barrier materials; tailored permeability (e.g., in energy storage, dehumidification, water desalination)

Surfaces and Interfaces

>>Adaptable, programmable and responsive; haptic interactions; damage resistance


>>Renewable materials; light-weighting; novel processing methods; life cycle considerations; design logic (Circular Economy) 


AFSP Industrial Partnerships

AFSP industrial partners can:

> Guide research directions by serving on Industrial Advisory Board

> Participate in one-on-one research projects based on corporate needs

> Sponsor project-based fellowships engaging PhD candidates who have specialized training and an innovation focus

> Participate in collaborative research funded by federal grant dollars

> Enroll in the Professional Master’s Program

> Engage in reciprocal on-site internships and sharing of facilities


AFSP Master’s Track

Now recruiting students for the fall of 2018, the AFSP Master's Track offers:

> Flexible scheduling – late afternoon classes

> Online and on-site courses

> Connections to the curriculum at established packaging schools

> In addition to an academic master’s degree, the option of a certificate program – based on the executive MBA model

> Emphasis on innovation management


AFSP Leadership


Gary WeekGary Wnek

Director and Surfaces, Interfaces and Interphases Research Coordinator

The Joseph F. Toot, Jr., Professor of Engineering

PhD Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Research Interests: Polymer nano- and microfibers for applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine; bio-mimicking macromolecular systems; polyelectrolyte gels; new approaches for collagen film, foam and fiber processing; enhanced fire-resistance in organic polymer foams; 2-D microfluidic platforms.


Eric BaerEric Baer

Co-director and Molecular and Material Transport Research Coordinator

Herbert Henry Dow Professor and Distinguished University Professor

DEng, Johns Hopkins University

Research Interests: Micro and nanolayered film systems; irreversible microdeformation mechanisms; pressure effects on morphology and mechanical properties; relationships between hierarchical structure and mechanical function; polymer composites and blends; polymerization and crystallization on crystalline surfaces; viscoelastic properties of polymer melts; damage and fracture analysis of polymers and their composites; structure-property relationships in biological systems.


Rigoberto AdminiculaRigoberto Advincula

Safety and Security Research Coordinator


PhD Chemistry, University of Florida

Research Interests: Design, synthesis, and characterization of polymers and nanostructured materials capable of controlled-assembly, tethering, and self-organization in ultrathin films. This includes functional macromolecules, coordination polymerization, polymerization on surfaces, electropolymerization, and preparation of nanoparticles and hybrid materials. Properties include: smart coatings, electrically conducting, photoluminescent, electroluminescent, energy harvesting, optically active, and biocompatible.


Lei ZhuLei Zhu

Sustainability Research Coordinator


PhD Polymer Science, University of Akron

Research Interests: Dielectric and ferroelectric polymers for advanced electric and power applications; polymer/inorganic hybrid nanocomposites; nanoscale structure and morphology of crystalline/liquid crystalline polymers and block copolymers; biodegradable polymers for diagnostic and drug delivery.