Project Title :
A multi-scale model for polymer membranes.                    
Supervisors: Prof Adrian Sutton, Dr Arash Mostofi, Prof Andrew Livingston and Dr James Spencer                                                           

Project description: 

Polymers and especially polymer composites are becoming increasingly important in structural applications e.g. in aerospace, and as functional materials in plastic electronics. They are also used as membranes for filtration, and Professor Livingston’s group in Chemical Engineering is world-leading in the design and development of these membranes. In all these applications there is a need to develop a coarse-grained model of how polymer chains rearrange themselves. This project will develop a coarse- grained representation of polymer chains as flexible elastic wires, which interact with each other and with particles. A particular application will be to understand through simulation the chemical and physical factors that determine the porosity of polymer films produced in Professor Livingston’s group.

Research highlights:

  • Talk at NPL: “A Multi-Scale Model for Polymer Deformation” (20/12/2010)
  • Talk at CMTH Informal Seminar: “Towards a Multi-Scale Model for P84 Phase Inversion Membranes” (June 2011)
  • Poster at TYC workshop on “Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Surfaces and Interfaces from SImulations” (June 2011)
  • Poster at CECAM workshop: “Coarse-Graining Strategies and Methodologies for Polymeric and Biomolecular Assemblies” (July 2011)
  • Computer time: HPC, 3.6M AU HECToR via The Materials Chemistry Consortium

Outreach activities:

My outreach activities focus on making scientific concepts tangible. I am currently in the process of building a parabolic reflector for use with sound and optical systems. This reflector, through the use of literally hundreds of carefully aligned tiny mirrors, can concentrate the light of the sun into a spot only a few millimetres across. The concentrated energy is high enough to light a match, burn a piece of wood or even to make a stone glow bright red. In the past I have attended an outreach event at the Research Councils UK (EPSRC) to talk about the research of our CDT.