Bobby Sinko, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Office Location: EB 208
Office Phone: 815-753-9975


  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University (2017)
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University (2015)
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Miami University (2012)
  • B.S. in Statistics, Miami University (2012)

Research Interests

  • Computational materials design
  • Molecular simulation
  • Multiscale modeling
  • Biomechanics and bioinspired design strategies
  • Moisture-responsive materials for energy storage and harvesting
  • Cellulose-based nanocomposites

Honors and Awards

  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship (2013-2016)
  • Northwestern Mechanical Engineering Department Graduate Leadership and Service Award (2014)
  • Northwestern University Walter P. Murphy Fellowship (2012-2013)
  • Tau Beta Pi Fellowship (2012-2013)

Selected Publications

  • Sinko, R., Bažant, Z. P. , & Keten, S. “ A nanoscale perspective on the effects of transverse microprestress on drying creep of nanoporous solids ” (In submission). 
  • Sinko, R. & Keten, S. “Effects of water at CNC-epoxy interfaces.” (In preparation). 
  • Wei, Z.*, Sinko, R.*, Keten, S., Luijten, E. “Effect of surface modification on the water adsorption and interfacial mechanics of cellulose nanocrystals” (*Indicates co-first authorship) (In preparation) 
  • Sinko, R., Xia, W., Keten, S. “Local polymer dynamics of poly(methyl methacrylate) in cellulose nanocrystal-polymer nanocomposites” (In preparation) 
  • Fox, D., Rodriguez, R., Devilbiss, M., Davis, C., Woodcock, J., Sinko, R., Keten, S., Gilman, J. “Simultaneously Tailoring Surface Energies and Thermal Stabilities of Cellulose Nanocrystals Using Ion Exchange: Effects on Polymer Composite Properties for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Renewable Energy Applications” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 8, 27270-27281, doi:10.1021/acsami.6b06083 (2016). 
  • Sinko, R., Vandamme, M., Bažant, Z. P. & Keten, S. Transient effects of drying creep in nanoporous solids: understanding the effects of nanoscale energy barriers. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science 472, doi:10.1098/rspa.2016.0490 (2016). 
  • Qin, X., Xia, W., Sinko, R. & Keten, S. Tuning Glass Transition in Polymer Nanocomposites with Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals through Nanoconfinement. Nano Letters 15, 6738-6744, doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b02588 (2015). 
  • Sinko, R. & Keten, S. Understanding emergent functions in self-assembled fibrous networks. Nanotechnology 26, 352501 (2015). 
  • Egan, P., Sinko, R., LeDuc, P. R. & Keten, S. The role of mechanics in biological and bio-inspired systems. Nat Commun 6, doi:10.1038/ncomms8418 (2015). 
  • Sinko, R., Qin, X. & Keten, S. Interfacial mechanics of cellulose nanocrystals. MRS Bulletin 40, 340-348 (2015). 
  • Sinko, R. & Keten, S. Traction–separation laws and stick–slip shear phenomenon of interfaces between cellulose nanocrystals. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 78, 526-539, doi: (2015). 
  • Sinko, R. & Keten, S. Effect of moisture on the traction-separation behavior of cellulose nanocrystal interfaces. Applied Physics Letters 105, 243702, doi:doi: (2014). 
  • Sinko, R., Mishra, S., Ruiz, L., Brandis, N. & Keten, S. Dimensions of Biological Cellulose Nanocrystals Maximize Fracture Strength. ACS Macro Letters 3, 64-69, doi:10.1021/mz400471y (2014). 
  • Sinko, R., Karnes, M., Koo, J.-H., Kim, Y.-K. & Kim, K.-S. Design and test of an adaptive vibration absorber based on magnetorheological elastomers and a hybrid electromagnet. Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures 24, 803-812, doi:10.1177/1045389x12463461 (2013).

Selected Presentations


  • Sinko, R. Improving Dispersion in Cellulose Nanocrystal-Polymer Composites through Ion-Exchange Surface Modifications . 2nd Midwest Workshop on Mechanics of Materials and Structures August 15, 2016, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA (poster presentation) 
  • Keten, S.; Designing Better Structural Materials by Understanding Nanoconfinement and Nanoscale Interfaces. 2016 Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) Conference May 22-25, 2016, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA (Presented by Sinko, R.) 
  • Sinko, R.; Vandamme, M.; Bažant, Z.; Keten, S.; Transient Effects of Drying Creep in Nanoporous Solids: Understanding the Effects of Nanoscale Energy Barriers. 2016 Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) Conference May 22-25, 2016, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA 
  • Sinko, R; Keten, S.; Atomistic simulation and modeling of the interface between cellulose nanocrystal elementary fibrils. Society of Engineering Science 51st Annual Technical Meeting October 1-3, 2014, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA 
  • Sinko, R.; Keten, S.; Atomistic Simulations on the Fracture Strength of Cellulose Nanocrystals (CNCs) and CNC-CNC Interfaces. 17th U.S. National Congress on Theoretical & Applied Mechanics (USNCTAM)
June 15-20, 2014, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA 
  • Sinko, R.; Keten, S.; Development of a computational model to study nanoscale interactions in new generations of nanocomposites. 2013 Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) Conference August 4-7, 2013, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA (poster presentation) 
  • Sinko, R.; Koo, J.-H.; Kim, Y.-K.; Kim, K.-S.; Characterization and Modeling of Bending Behavior of a New Generation of Magnetorheological Elastomers. 12th Joint Intermag/MMM Conference, January 20-24, 2013, Chicago, IL, USA 
  • Sinko, R.; Karnes, M.; Koo, J.-H.; Kim, Y.-K.; Kim, K.-S.; ASME, Design and Test of an Adaptive Tuned Vibration Absorber for Reducing Cryogenic Cooler Vibrations. 2012; p 325-331. (Technical Paper and Presentation at 2011 ASME Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems (SMASIS) Conference – Phoenix, AZ)

Invited Talks

  • Sinko, R. (January 2014) “ME 512 Quick Tech Talk: Atomistic simulations of the fracture strength of cellulose nanocrystals” Mechanical Engineering Departmental Seminar, Northwestern University. 
  • Sinko, R. (February 2017) “Transient effects of drying creep in nanoporous solids: understanding the effect of nanoscale energy barriers” United States Association of Computational Mechanics Student Seminar Series, Northwestern University. 
  • Sinko, R. (March 2017) “A Computational Materials-by-Design Approach for Cellulose-Based Nanocomposites” MAE Colloquium, Cornell University

Work Experience

  • Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Illinois University (current)
  • Guest lecturer, Northwestern University (2014-2017)
  • Graduate research mentor, Northwestern University (2015-2016)
  • Teaching assistant, Northwestern University (2013)
  • Tutor, Miami University (2011-2012)

Bobby Sinko

ACUE Credentialed Educator

Contact Us

College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
Engineering Building
590 Garden Rd, DeKalb, IL
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