Materials

Making materials matter: understanding the behaviour of materials for optimising technological processes and product applications

Aims of the research theme

Overview and objectives

Our research aims to understand the behaviour of materials from a fundamental knowledge of the way in which interactions between molecules and larger structures influence the organisation and dynamics of bulk assemblies of materials. By elucidating the microscopic behaviour of a material, we aim to predict and optimise its macroscopic response, for a particular technological process or product application.

Methods and capabilities

We apply a combination of advanced analytical and computational modelling methods with physical characterisation techniques including atomic force microscopy, vibrational spectroscopy, novel spectroscopic imaging, inverse chromatography, light, X-ray and neutron scattering, Quartz microbalance and rheometry. Nanoscale imaging of nanostructured materials using tip-enhanced Raman scattering is another area of emerging research. We study a wide range of materials including polymers, colloids, powders, pastes, agglomerates, fibres, composites, foods, pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, thin liquid films, surfactants and supercritical fluids.

Highlight videos

A Film about Films: Membranes Research at BP-ICAM

Researchers at the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) are taking on the challenge of creating more efficient membranes with the potential for new applications.

Through experiments and mathematical modelling, a team of chemical engineers at Imperial College London, led by Professor Andrew Livingston, are developing a new understanding of the structure and function of polymer membranes from reverse osmosis.

Studying the fundamental science of membranes is allowing BP to improve the efficiency of off-shore water desalination processes, to reduce the amount of energy used in oil extraction and increase the efficiency of the process.

A sister project at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, led by Professor Benito J. Mariñas, is researching membranes for waste water clean-up. The Illinois team are developing polymer membranes that will be selective, letting water pass through and rejecting organics that are toxic to nature.

A Film about Films: Membranes Research at BP-ICAM

A Film about Films: Membranes Research at BP-ICAM

Researchers at BPICAM are taking on the challenge of creating more efficient membranes

Researchers at the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) are taking on the challenge of creating more efficient membranes with the potential for new applications.

Through experiments and mathematical modelling, a team of chemical engineers at Imperial College London, led by Professor Andrew Livingston, are developing a new understanding of the structure and function of polymer membranes from reverse osmosis.

Studying the fundamental science of membranes is allowing BP to improve the efficiency of off-shore water desalination processes, to reduce the amount of energy used in oil extraction and increase the efficiency of the process.

A sister project at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, led by Professor Benito J. Mariñas, is researching membranes for waste water clean-up. The Illinois team are developing polymer membranes that will be selective, letting water pass through and rejecting organics that are toxic to nature.

Do the silica shake

Do the silica shake

A new non-Newtonian fluid: goo that goes from liquid to solid when shaken

Researchers have discovered a new non-Newtonian fluid, a new non-Newtonian fluid: goo that goes from liquid to solid when shaken (read the paper in Colloids and Surfaces A).

Fabrican: Science in fashion

Fabrican: Science in fashion

Fabrican, spray-on fabric technology which led to the spin-out company Fabrican Ltd.

Fabrican, spray-on fabric technology which led to the spin-out company Fabrican Ltd.