Carnegie Mellon University

Susana Steppan

Susana Steppan

Associate Teaching Professor, Chemical Engineering


Professor Susana Steppan received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1986 and a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in 1990. After completing her doctoral degree, Professor Steppan joined PPG Industries, and later Bayer Corporation, as a Senior Research Engineer, where she carried out extensive characterization of industrial coatings, polyurethane products (coatings, elastomers, RIM, and foam) and thermoplastic materials. She managed the Material Science laboratory in Polymer Research at Bayer Corp. In 1996 she returned to PPG Industries to lead several product development teams within Automotive Coatings Research and Development. In 2001 she joined the Research Center on the Materials of the Artist and Conservator as a Visiting Senior Researcher, where she conducted basic research into the nature of acrylic paints and studied appearance changes during aging of acrylic films. Professor Steppan joined Carnegie Mellon's Department of Chemical Engineering in 2004 as a part-time Instructor and Lab Manager in the CPS program. She now holds an appointment as Assistant Teaching Professor of Chemical Engineering and advises the Masters students.


Ph.D. 1990, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

B.S. 1986, University of Southern California


Advanced characterization of complex materials

Professor Steppan has always been interested in the characterization of materials. Her doctoral research focused on the rheological behavior of dilute polymer solutions. Her extensive industrial experience in the development and testing of coatings, elastomers, foams, and thermoplastics has helped improve the capabilities of the PPG Industries CPS Laboratory. She has also been instrumental in the development of new coursework materials for the CPS laboratory curricula.

Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces (CPS) Program

Professor Steppan is an integral member of the CPS Program, an interdisciplinary educational program providing coursework and an MS degree in the study of nanoparticles, macromolecules, interfaces and the complex fluids formed by these materials.

Research Websites

Complex Fluids Engineering


Kun Li award for excellence in Education, 2016
•Holder of U.S. Patent No. 6,372,840, "Dual stabilized dispersions of gelled polymeric microparticles and coatings produced therefrom".
•Developed and commercialized a Medium Solids Solventborne Clearcoat for the European Market while working for PPG Industries.
•Taught in-house courses at PPG Industries on Rheology, Mechanical Properties of Coatings, Thermal Analysis of Polymers, and Topcoat Technologies.


Full Publications

1.Cassassa, Ethel, Z., Jacobson, A., Frollini, R. and Steppan, S. C., "Industrial-Academic Partnership: Interdisciplinary Educational Program in Nanoparticles, Macromolecules and Interfaces" Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 48 (5), (2009) 2301-2304.
2.Jacobson, A., Frollini, R. and Steppan, S. C., "Undergraduate Engineering Program in Nanomaterials, Macromolecules and Interfaces". 2008 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.
3.U.S. Patent No. 6,372,840, "Dual stabilized dispersions of gelled polymeric microparticles and coatings produced therefrom", Mohamad D. Shalati, Susana C. Steppan, Michael A. Mayo, April 2002.
4.Meltzer, A. D., et al., "A Solid-State NMR Investigation into Microphase Separation in Polyurethane Thermoplastic Elastomers", Polymer Preprints, 34(1), (1993) 586.
5.Chin, S. and D. A. Hoagland, "Adsorption and Desorption of Polystyrene from Dilute Solutions in Shear and Elongational Flow", Macromolecules, 24, (1991) 1876-1882.
6.Chin, S., D. A. Hoagland, J. J. Muri, and A. D. Parkhe, "A Solution Birefringence Study of Polymer Elongation in Spatially Periodic Stretching Flows", Rheologica Acta, 28, (1989) 202-214.