Materials

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

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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.

Highlights

Designer membranes

Researchers develop "designer" chemical separation membranes. Read more about the paper published in Nature Materials (Jimenez-Solomon et al. 2016. Polymer nanofilms with enhanced microporosity by interfacial polymerization. Nature Materials, DOI: 10.1038/nmat4638)

Carbon porous
Researchers develop porous carbon foam material with wide range of applications. Read more about the paper published in Carbon (Woodward et al. 2016 Hierachically porous carbon foams from Pickering high internal phase emulsions. Carbon, DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2016.02.002)

SynFabFun
SynFabFun: From membrane material syntheis to fabrication and function. £4.5million Programme Grant aimed at multidisciplinary membrane synthesis, fabrication and application research funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC). Read more

Highlight videos

Fabrican: Science in fashion

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

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.

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).