Polymers are ubiquitous and are formed both artificially and naturally. Our research covers a wide variety of polymers, addressing their formation and properties. Our work on polymerisation includes introducing functional monomers into bulk polymers and in-situ polymerisation on or between 2D materials.
We study thermodynamic, thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties of resulting polymer conformations, such as cloud-point, viscosity, thermal and electrical conductivity, thermoelectric performance, interaction with surfaces or chemicals including interfacial/surface tension and contact angles, and capacity for sorption of or penetration by small molecules.
We also investigate degradation of desirable properties under exposure to environmental elements like moisture and heat. Examples of polymers we study are additives for packaging materials and environmentally friendlier coatings, concrete superplasticizers, functional particles for enhanced oil recovery, and composites with crosslinking. Our results facilitate polymer selection and design.
|Polymer confined by particle surfaces
||Classical molecular dynamics simulation of superplasticizer adsorption on model cement
Sorption and diffusion of small molecule in polymer
Wetting between polymer and substrate
These polymers can be key components in formulations made for a variety of applications, a large number of which fall in the consumer products and consumer care, agrochemicals, oilfield chemicals, and more generally specialty chemicals. An example of such a formulation is an emulsion of micelles and/or chemical actives encapsulated by surfactants. To stabilize such formulations, we focus on surfactant selection and design and have developed a method to predict the effectiveness of encapsulation.
For the consumer care industry, we have developed molecular models of hair and skin that can be used to understand interactions with ingredients like emollients and surfactants. Besides formulations for health and safety, we work on designing next-generation intelligent engine oil formulations, and dispersible concentrate (DC) formulations with desired dilution behaviour for crop protection.
Top view of membrane disruption by a micelle of the sugar surfactant
We are currently exploring the new areas of engineering plastics, rubbers/elastomers, renewable feedstock materials like Lignin and Chitin, biodegradable polymers, glass nucleation and phases, and recycling, 3D printing, and service/shelf life prediction of polymer materials and formulations.