Prinicipal Investigator
Kwang J. (Jin) Kim
  • Kwang J. (Jin) Kim, Ph.D.,
  • ASME Fellow
  • NV Energy Professor of Energy and Matter
    Department of Mechanical Engineering
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
    4505 Maryland Parkway
    Las Vegas, NV 89154-4027
    Office: 702-774-1419
  • CV
  • Google ScholarGoogle Scholar Citations
Dr. Kim's Research Team

IPMC travelling waves
Twisting Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuators (with K. Leang)
Dropwise condensation on an interesting tube that we made (2012)
Metal Hydride Actuator (with K. Jung)

Kwang Kim’s Laboratory, namely Active Materials and Smart Living (AMSL) Laboratory, provides an academic environment to UNLV students and researchers to learn and develop necessary engineering skills and attitudes that are needed to become great innovators throughout the course of their career. The laboratory is adequately setup to study engineering science in connection with Energy and Matter that has the broader economic-and-sociological impact on “sustainability and health engineering”.

Kwang J. (Jin) Kim is NV Energy Professor of Energy and Matter at the Mechanical Engineering Department of University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Prior to joining UNLV in Fall 2012, he was University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Foundation Professor and Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department (2007-2012). He graduated from Yonsei University, Korea, in 1987 and received his MS and Ph.D. from Arizona State University (ASU) in 1989 and 1992, respectively. Later, he completed a postdoctoral study at the University of Maryland-College Park UMCP (1993-1995). His industrial experience includes Senior Research Engineer at Thermal Electric Devices, Inc. (1995-1997) and Chief Scientist at Environmental Robots, Inc. (1997-2001), Albuquerque NM.

His research interests are in a broad spectrum of “Energy Systems” and “Active Materials/Sensors.” He has authored/ co-authored more than 360(+) technical publications including 170(+) referred journal papers and 3 monographs and was awarded 3 U.S. patents. He is a recipient of the 2016 Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award, the 2011 UNR Foundation Professorship, the 2006 UNR Lemelson Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the 2002 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities. He is a Fellow of ASME (2007) and currently serves on the editorial boards of Smart Materials and Structures (SMS), International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials (TSNM), Scientific Reports, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, and Actuators.

Spring of 2017: Zakai OlsenOne of AMSL's graduate student, Zakai Olsen, was recently named as one the six ASME nominees for the 2017 New Faces of Engineering Program (see ASME News Vol. 36(4), 2017). This nomination annually spotlights the important contributions early career engineers and engineering students are making to the profession and to society.
Fall of 2016: Tyler Stalbaum Tyler Stalbaum successfully defended his PhD dissertation entitled "Ionic Electroactive Devices: Physics-based Modeling with Experimental Verification." He was, also, recognized by UNLV as one of the four outstanding winter graduates (for more information click here.)
NSP PIRESummer of 2016: Prof. Kim and NSF PIRE students went to a field trip to S. Korea to collaborate with researchers from KAIST (Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). The goal of this collaborative international research project is to create advanced multifunctional Artificial Muscles (AMs) based on the unique properties of Ionic Polymer-Metal Composites (IPMCs) for soft robotics. In particular, this project will leverage expertise across the U.S. (UNLV, University of Utah, NYU, and RPI) and abroad (South Korea and Japan) to address critical technical challenges in AM technology and develop effective and reliable IPMC-based AM technology for soft robotic applications.
AMSLSpring of 2016:
AMSL students gave a nice demonstration at EAP-in-Action (SPIE meeting in Las Vegas) about an IPMC with shape-memory effect. Left-right: Prof. Kim, Robert Hunt, Choonghan Lee, Tyler Stalbaum, Qi Shen, Dr. Junwoo Park, Sarah Trabia, and Zakai Olsen.
A featured article on Prof. Kim’s PIRE activities were published on the NSF website article entitled, “Turnable, twistable robots” published June 15, 2016. (

3D workshopProf. Kim, in collaboration with Prof. Jaeyun Moon, organized a mini-workshop on “3D Manufacturing” at the UNLV.
Prof. Kim received the 2016 Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award in May 2016.
PIRE ProjectFall of 2015: Prof. Kim's PIRE project was selected for funding by National Science Foundation. Another Prof. Kim's NASA project, in collaboration with University of Nevada, Reno, entitled "Advanced Transport Technologies for NASA Thermal Management/Control Systems," was selected for funding. AMSL's new logo was designed by Zakai Olsen's family. Nevada Lt Governor, Mark Hutchison, visited AMSL on September 24, 2015.
Summer of 2015: AMSLShelby Nelson successfully defended her MS thesis entitled, "Feasibility Study Of Custom Manufacturing Methods Of Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Sensors" and was hired as Mechanical Engineer for GearWorks near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
January/February/March 2015: AMSL hosted a focused workshop on soft robotics with SKK University from S. Korea in January.
Prof. Kim was awarded the 2015 Nevada Regents’ Researcher award on March 6. More...
September/October/November/December 2014: Two of Kim’s group PhD students, Tyler Stalbaum and Jameson Lee, received their NASA Space Grant Consortium Fellowship.
On September 22, Nevada Governor Sandoval visited AMSL.
Prof. Kim gave an invited talk at AFORE 2014 conference on Renewable Energy.
Prof. Kim's research on surface modification techniques was covered by UNLV Research Megazine in December.
July 2014: Kuok Cheng completed his PhD study by successfully defending his dissertation entitled “Parameter Studies on Dropwise Condensation Heat Transfer for Industrial Applications.”
A Provisional Patent entitled, “Heat Dissipating Plate Device for Light Emitting Diode, Heat Lamp for Automobile and Method for Preparing the Same,” was filed. This technology was developed via collaboration with Hyundai/Kia Motors.
June 2014: Prof. Kim gave an invited talk at the Kentucky Organic Electronic Materials Symposium University on “Ionic Polymer-Metal Composites (IPMC) as Soft Actuators and Sensors.”
May 2014: Prof. Kim hosted the first mini-symposium on Intermountain Biotechnology, Energy and Materials (BEM). The BEM gathers graduate students, researchers, and faculty members from Utah State University and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
May 2014: Md Mainul Hossain Bhuiya completed his PhD study by successfully defending his dissertation entitled “Design and Analysis of Hydrogen Powered Actuator Integrating Metal Hydride Storage System.”
April 2014: Deivid Pugal completed his 2nd PhD from Institute of Physics, University of Tartu (UT), Estonia under Prof. Alvo Aabloo of UT and Prof. Kim. His dissertation title is “hp-FEM Model of IPMC Deformation.”
March 2014: Shelby Nelson, Tyler Stalbaum, Viljar Palmre, and Prof. Kim went to the 2014 Smart Materials and Conferences to present a number of papers.
Feb 2014: Prof. Kim hosted a mini NASA workshop on “Softrobotics/Active Skins and Related Technologies.”
Feb 2014
Jan 2014: The Department of Defense recently awarded Prof. Kim an equipment grant of $248,495, entitled “Establishment of a Versatile Nano/Micro-Mechanical Characterization Facility.”
Dec 2013: Prof. Kim was named as one of Collaborative Research and Education (CoRE) Fellow of UNLV. He will serve as a facilitator for subjects related to Renewable Resources and Sustainability.
Dec 2013: Dec 2013NBD Nanotechnologies, Inc. (NBD), a start-up company from Boston, Massachusetts, UNLV, and the Korean Institute of Energy Research (KIER) entered into a license agreement for certain commercialization rights in and to a UNLV/KIER developed technology generally known as "Polymer-Based Porous Coatings Enhancing Condenser Performance." The technology came out of Prof. Kim’s laboratory.
Recent Publications and Books

A paper entitled "A New High-Performance Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Based on Nafion / Polyimide Blends, was published in Smart Materials and Structures, Vol. 26, 035015 (11pp) (2017,

Spring of 2016:
AMSL students/researchers (Qi Shen, Sarah Trabia, TylerStalbaum, ViljarPalmre) published a paper in Scientific Reports, (DOI: 10.1038/srep24462) that is titled "A Multiple-Shape Memory Polymer-Metal Composite Actuator Capable of Programmable Control, Creating Complex 3D Motion of Bending, Twisting, and Oscillation.
Prof. Kim also published a collaborative paper with Prof. Il-Kwon Oh of KAIST in Advanced Materials. The paper is entitled "Sulfur and Nitrogen Co-Doped Graphene Electrodes for High-Performance Ionic Arti?cial Muscles." (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201505243)

Md Bhuiya and Anupam Kumar’s review paper entitled “Metal hydrides in engineering systems, processes, and devices: a review of non-storage applications,” was published by International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (40/5, pp. 2231-2247, 2015).

BongJun Zhang’s paper entitled “Noncovalently assembled nanotubular porous layers for delaying of heating surface failure,” was published in Scientific Reports (4 : 6817 | DOI: 10.1038/srep06817)
Scientific Reports

Another collaborative paper with Tartu University, entitled “Ionic electroactive polymer artificial muscles in space applications,” was published by Scientific Reports (4 : 6913 | DOI: 10.1038/srep06913)

Viljar Palmre’s paper entitled “Nanothorn Electrodes for Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Artificial Muscles,” was published in a Nature journal - Scientific Reports [4: 6176 | DOI: 10.1038/srep06176].

Viljar’s paper entitled “An IPMC-Enabled Bio-Inspired Bending/Twisting Fin for Underwater Applications” was included in the highlights of 2013 Smart Materials and Structures Journal (V. Palmre, M. Fleming, D. Pugal, S.J. Kim, K. J. Kim, and K. K. Leang, 22, 014003, 2013; doi:10.1088/0964-1726/22/1/014003).

Dr. Kim’s new paper, “Recent Advances in Ionic Polymer–Metal Composite Actuators and their Modeling and Applications,“ was published in Progress in Polymer Science [38(7), 1037–1066 (2013); C. Jo, D. Pugal, I.-K. Oh, and K. J. Kim, and K. Asaka].

Dr. Kim's new book entitled "Biomimetic Robotic Artificial Muscles" (co-authored with Drs. Xiabo Tan, Hyouk Ryeol Choi, and David Pugal) was published by World Scientific in the spring of 2013.

Biomimetic Robotic Artificial Muscles

Dr. Kim's artificial muscle research based on hydrogen gas is featured on Discovery News and, also, covered by "NewScientist" magazine. [ > ]

New Scientist

K. J. Kim and S. Tadokoro (ed.), "Electroactive Polymers for Robotic Application: Artificial Muscles and Sensors," Published by Springer, London [ > ]

Electroactive Polymers for Robotics Applications

M. Shahinpoor, K. J. Kim, and M. Mojarrad, "Artificial Muscles: Applications of Advanced Polymeric Nano-Composites" Published by Taylor and Francis-CRC, New York [ > ]

Artificial Muscles

Longevity by Tae Lee (1903-1975), Grandfather of Kwang Jin Kim