Colloids

Polymer Dynamics in Turbulent Flows

Adding even a small amount of dissolved polymer into a fluid can have a dramatic impact on the way it flows. If the flow is turbulent (high-Reynolds-number) to begin with, then the polymer can strongly modify the turbulent eddies and reduce the drag force (in flow through pipes) or even make the flow laminar. Known as the Toms effect, this phenomena is exploited to reduce the pumping costs associated with transporting oil in pipelines. Polymers can also destabilize a low-Reynolds-number steady flow and make it unsteady and chaotic.

Film formation and anti-microbial studies of nano-composite coatings

Preventing or inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms on surfaces is of prime importance in the healthcare and textile industries. A promising strategy to overcome microbial growth involves coating the surfaces with materials that can provide resistance to microbial colonization. Inorganic nano materials and organic materials with inorganic inclusions are being widely used as anti-microbial coatings.

Polymer grafted nanoparticles as separation and fuel cell membranes

Polymer membranes are popular in separation and fuel cell applications.  Moreover, nanoparticle-filled polymer membranes can simultaneously improve properties such as permeability and selectivity.  The challenge lies in stabilizing these membranes against phase separation.  Recent progress in grafting polymer onto the surface of nanoparticles may mitigate some of these challenges.  This project uses statistical mechanics to study the efficacy of grafted nanoparticles as effective membrane materials.

Basic programming ability is needed. 

The phase behavior of connected hard and soft particles.

A surprising new development in materials science and chemical engineering is the finding that mixtures of hard (colloidal), and soft (polymeric, or micellar) particles can self organize on length scales much larger than the diameter of either species.  In this project we explore the behavior of connected hard- and soft particles.  An elementary knowledge of coding is sufficient.

The role of shape in the self-assembly of polymer-grafted nanoparticles.

Traditionally, self-assembled structures are formed using chemical differences within a species.  Examples of this are the formation of micelles by detergents, and the formation of the phospholipid bilayer of the cell membrane.  In these systems it is the tendency to the hydrophobic and hydrophilic part to avoid each other that result in the self-assembled state.  However, a recent study (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2017/sm/c7sm00230k) has pointed out that it is possible to form self-assembled states