Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Winkelmann, Kurt

Associate Professor, Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences

My research students and I engage in both chemistry and chemical education research. I mentor graduate students in the Chemistry Department and in the Department of Education and Interdisciplinary Sciences. I welcome undergraduate students from many departments into my research group. My research is interdisciplinary – recent projects have involved collaborations with faculty in chemistry (of course), chemical engineering, materials engineering, biology, mathematics, aviation, and education, as well as scientists at Kennedy Space Center, FAA, and private companies. Summaries of new and recent activities are described on my research group's website. I encourage graduate and undergraduate students to stop by my office or contact me to discuss any projects that interest you. We also lead a wide variety of chemical consulting projects. Organizations or individuals interested in consulting with my group should contact me as well.


Educational Background

B.S. Virginia Tech 1995

Ph.D. Auburn University 2000

Postdoctoral Researcher Northwestern University 2001


Recognition & Awards

2013 Florida Tech Kerry Bruce Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching

2012 Orlando ACS Award for Outstanding Four-Year College Teacher

2012 Florida Tech President’s Award for University Excellence

2009 Florida Tech Andrew W. Revay Jr. Award for Excellence in Service


Current Courses

My teaching experience includes General and Physical Chemistry, Introduction to Nanotechnology Laboratory, and a Computers for Chemists course. I have helped design or redesign most of the courses that I teach. I also oversee the administration of Florida Tech’s online science courses. I coordinated Florida Tech’s General Chemistry program from 2010 to 2016.


Additional Duties

I am active in the Florida Tech Faculty Senate and other departmental and university committees.


Current Research


My chemistry research group explores the properties and chemical reactions associated with nanoscale materials. Nanoparticles are an interesting class of materials because of their high ratio of surface area to volume and the variation of their properties with particle size. Our research spans the disciplines of physical chemistry (especially kinetics), materials chemistry, environmental science, and biochemistry. My group’s latest project investigates the environmental impact of both artificial and naturally occurring nanoparticles. Students synthesize and characterize these nanoparticles and study how the nanoparticles affect biochemical reactions in a variety of plants and algae. Due to the strong biochemical aspect of this project, we are collaborating with Dr. Andrew Palmer in the Department of Biological Sciences. You can read our first paper on this subject by clicking here.

I have an ongoing interest elucidating the mechanisms of chemical reactions that occur on the surface of nanomaterials. Often, these reactions involve the interaction of light (photochemistry) with the nanoparticles acting as reaction catalysts. Applications of such materials include environmental remediation and chemical sensors. The study of transforming chemical pollutants to more benign products is a long-standing research effort in my lab. We are also interested in photoresponsive nanoparticles synthesized within nanosized pores on a substrate. Preparing nanoparticles in confined spaces is an effective way to produce nanoparticles with the desired properties.


Education Research

I have a strong interest in understanding student learning in the chemistry laboratory and classroom. Three current projects include:

  • We seek a greater understanding of how the laboratory environment affect students’ learning and attitudes about chemistry. Thanks to advances in technology and internet access, students can conduct realistic lab experiments in a virtual reality (VR) or an augmented reality (AR) laboratory. Situated cognition theory suggests that learning is, in part, tied to the student’s physical environment but what does that mean when the laboratory is virtual? Researchers are just beginning to answer this question. You can read here about my group’s investigation of learning chemistry in the virtual world of Second Life by clicking here and clicking here. (With a free Second Life account, you can visit our lab by clicking here.)
  • To prepare science and engineering students for their eventual careers, it is imperative that they learn about cutting edge research in such topics as nanotechnology. This requires educators to adapt the latest published research experiments to a more student-friendly lab or classroom experience. My group collaborates with Drs. Joel Olson (Chemistry) and Jim Brenner (Chemical Engineering) on many such projects in order to create a curriculum for our team-taught introductory nanotechnology lab course (CHM 1091). Our latest experiment, developed to teach students about the toxicity of nanoparticles, can be found here.
  • Motivation is a one important factor that contributes to students’ success in college. While educators should create a learning environment that promotes intrinsic motivation among students, external rewards can be effective as well. “Gamification” in education refers to creating a game-like structure in a course through the use of features common to video games, such as leader boards and badges. While gamification has shown some benefits to students’ learning in college courses, no studies have been performed among chemistry students. In addition, motivation is only one aspect of a course structure. I am interested in understanding how the effectiveness of gamification elements depends on other aspects of the course, such as the extent that students actively engage in learning or listen to lectures.

Descriptions of previous education projects can be found here:

Creating a Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Minor

Introducing Research-inspired Modules in the General Chemistry Lab Curriculum

Developing an Interdisciplinary Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Academic Program



Finally, my research group engages in many consulting projects with individuals, government agencies, and companies. These include a study of fuel stability properties with the FAA, the review of a devulcanization process of rubber tires, and an analysis of commercial ink photostability. I also review textbooks and other teaching and assessment materials for publishers. Contact me if you would like to partner with my research lab to solve a chemical problem, analyze a material, or develop a new chemical process.


Selected Publications

Journal Articles (* indicates undergraduate student coauthor)
Winkelmann, K.; Keeney-Kennicutt, W.; Fowler, D.; Macik, M. “Development, Implementation, and Assessment of General Chemistry Lab Experiments Performed in the Virtual World of Second Life” J. Chem. Educ. 94(7), 2017, 849–858.
Winkelmann, K.; Bernas, L.; Swiger, B.;* Brown, S.* “Measurement of chlorophyll loss due to phytoremediation of Ag nanoparticles in the first-year laboratory” J. Chem. Educ. 94(6), 2017, 751–757.
Bernas, L.; Winkelmann, K.; Palmer, D. “Phytoremediation of Silver Species by Waterweed (Egeria Densa)” The Chemist, 90(1), 2017, available at
Winkelmann, K.; Baloga, M. H.; Marcinkowski, T.; Giannoulis, C.; Anquandah, G.; Cohen, P. “Improving Students’ Inquiry Skills and Attitudes through Research-Inspired Modules in the General Chemistry Laboratory” J. Chem. Educ. 92(2), 2015, 247–255.
Winkelmann, K.; Baloga, M. H.; Menendez, A.* “Lightning in a Bottle: Measuring NOx Formed by Electrical Discharge in an Inquiry-Based General Chemistry Laboratory Experiment” Chem. Educator 19 2014, 305-309.
Winkelmann, K.; Scott, M.; Wong, D.* “A Study of High School Students’ Performance of Virtual Chemistry Laboratory in Second Life” J. Chem. Educ. 91(9) 2014, 1432-1438.
Winkelmann, K. “A Ten Year Review of the NSF Nanotechnology in Undergraduate Education (NUE) program” J. Nano Educ. 6(2) 2014, 109-116.
Winkelmann, K.; Bernas, L.;* Saleh, M. “A Review of Nanotechnology Learning Resources for K-12, College and Informal Educators” J. Nano Educ. 6(1) 2014, 1-11.
Winkelmann, K. “Learning about the Societal Impacts of Nanotechnology through Role Playing” J. Nano Educ. 4(1) 2012, 67-81.
Winkelmann, K.; Calhoun, R. L.; Mills, G. “Effects of Periodic Illumination and Aqueous/Organic Interfacial Surface Area on Chain Propagation of CCl3F Reduction” J. Phys. Chem. C 116(4) 2012, 2829–2837.
Winkelmann, K.; German, H.;* Hodes, C.;* Li, J.; Price, M.;* Termini, C.;* Thiele, C.* “Synthesis of Iron Nanoparticles in Aqueous and Nonaqueous Solutions and their Use in Simulated Waste Remediation: An Experiment for First-Year College Students” J. Nano Educ. 3(1) 2011, 75-81.
Zaccardi, M. J.;* Winkelmann, K.; Olson, J. A. “Preparation of Chemically Etched Tips for Ambient Instructional Scanning Tunneling Microscopy” J. Chem. Educ. 87(3) 2010, 308-310.
Winkelmann, K. “Practical Aspects of Creating an Interdisciplinary Nanotechnology Laboratory Course for Freshmen” J. Nano Educ. 1(1) 2009, 34-41.
Winkelmann, K.; Sharma, V. K.; Lin, Y.*; Shreve, K. A.*; Winkelmann, C.; Hoisington, L. J.*; Yngard, R. A. “Reduction of Ferrate(VI) and Oxidation of Cyanate in a Fe(VI)–TiO2–UV–NCO− system” Chemosphere 72(11) 2008, 1694-1699.
Noviello, T.;* Brooks, S.;* Winkelmann, K. “Preparation of CdS Nanoparticles by First-Year Undergraduates” J. Chem. Educ. 84(4) 2007, 709-710.
Winkelmann, K.; Mills, G.; Calhoun, R. L. “Chain Photoreduction of CCl3F in TiO2 Suspensions: Enhancement Induced by O2” J. Phys. Chem. A 110(51) 2006, 13827-13835.
Sharma, V. K.; Winkelmann, K.; Krasnova, Y.;* Lee, C.; Sohn, M. “Heterogeneous Photocatalytic Reduction of Ferrate(VI) in UV-Irradiated Titania Suspensions: Role in Enhancing Destruction of Nitrogen-Containing Pollutants” Int. J. Photoenergy 5(3) 2003, 183-190.
Calhoun, R. L.; Winkelmann, K. J.; Mills, G. “Photoreduction of CFC-11 in TiO2 Suspensions” J. Phys. Chem. B 105(40) 2001, 9739-9746.

Book Chapters (* indicates undergraduate student coauthor)
Leonard Bernas, Kurt Winkelmann, Katherine Stewart,* Carolyn Chabuz,* Jean Rose* “A Review of Nanotechnology Experiments with Environmental and Biological Applications” in Science Education and Green Chemistry for a Sustainable Future Muhammad Hugerat (Ed). Haifa, Israel: The Academic Arab College for Education in Israel, under review.
Kurt Winkelmann, Bharat Bhushan “Global Perspectives of Nanotechnology Education” in Springer Handbook of Nanotechnology Bharat Bhushan (Ed). Switzerland: Springer-Verlag, in press, expected July 2017.
Kurt Winkelmann “Virtual Worlds and Their Uses in Chemical Education” in Pedagogic Roles of Animations and Simulations in Chemistry Courses ACS Symposium Series, Jerry Suits and Michael Sanger (Eds). 2013; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, pp 161-179.
Kurt Winkelmann “A Review of Nanomaterial Synthesis Experiments for the General Chemistry Laboratory Course” in Nanotechnology in Undergraduate Education ACS Symposium Series, Kimberly A. O. Pacheco, Richard W. Schwenz, Wayne E. Jones, Jr. (Eds). 2010; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, pp. 135-154.
Kurt Winkelmann, James Mantovani, James Brenner “Interdisciplinary Lab Course in Nanotechnology for Freshmen at the Florida Institute of Technology“ in Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education: Issues, Trends and Future Directions A. E. Sweeney, S. Seal (Eds). 2008; American Scientific Publishers: Stevenson Ranch, CA, pp. 269-291.

Books Edited
Global Perspectives of Nanoscience and Engineering Education; Kurt Winkelmann, Bharat Bhushan (Eds). 2016; Springer-Verlag: Switzerland.