For my PhD I am studying surfactant migration on polymeric substrates. Surfactants are commonly used to modify the surface chemistry of many materials including polymers. In the manufacture of non-woven fabrics formed from polyethylene and polypropylene blends, which are used extensively in the personal care industry, non-ionic and cationic surfactants are commonly used to improve surface hydrophilicity via simple coating processes.
Common industrial uses include sanitary products, medical sorbent-based products, disposable nappies and de-misting filters amongst many others. The surface hydrophilicity of these materials is typically time-dependent, due to significant losses of surfactants. The fate and mechanisms by which surfactants are lost are not currently known. This surfactant loss process will be investigated by measuring key physicochemical properties of substrates treated with surfactants under different environmental conditions and as a function of time. The two primary objectives for the project are to confirm, quantify and visualise surfactant distributions on the surface of non-woven fabrics, and to develop a fundamental understanding of the surfactant loss process(es).
Awards and News
SCI Messel Scholarship 2018 (Link)