Welcome to my research portfolio!
I am a colloid scientist undertaking my final year of doctoral research at Warwick University, where I have been since 2005 when I started my 4 year MChem degree. My research takes place in the BonLab under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Stefan Bon, where my focus is predominantly on the synthesis and application of (sub)micron sized hollow silica particles.
My project is entitled "Investigating Hollow Silica Nanoparticles as Opacity Modifiers in Waterborne Coatings". The pigment that is currently used in white paint is an inorganic material called titanium dioxide (TiO2). Its use has several environmental implications such as deforestation and the production of hazardous by-products. Air voids can also scatter light strongly, albeit not as efficiently as TiO2. My research attempts to improve the efficiency of the light scattering (opacity) by investigating the effect of size, shape, and packing of air voids in paint films. The project is an industrial CASE award, organised by Chemistry Innovation, and sponsored by the EPSRC and AkzoNobel.
However, our curious nature in the Bon lab has also led me through many other fields of research as well, such as pickering stabilization and "smart" colloids that can undergo chemotaxis - similar to microorganisms! I have experience in investigating various types of emulsions (O/W and W/O, Pickering, Mini-emulsion), interfacial phenomena, motile colloidal particles, opacity modifiers, hydrothermal syntheses, and sol-gel/silane chemistry. Consequently it has been necessary to become proficient in a wide range of analytical techniques including porosimetry, electron microscopy, and light scattering to name but a few. If you would like to learn more about the analytical techniques that I use in my research then please follow the link.
In my spare time I have teamed up with a colleague from the Warwick Business School and developed a fuel as a replacement for kerosene (paraffin) in wick burning stoves, which is a major cause of health problems in the informal settlements around the world. As of Easter 2013 we have just come back from our first field test in South Africa with some very positive results to show! We are now fine tuning our prototype and conducting the remaining analyses on its combustion properties before looking for corporate partners to take our product to market... watch this space!
When i'm not synthesising or analyzing some form of nanoparticle or biphasic goo I enjoy cooking (sometimes goo but not always), breakdancing, learning new skills online through khan academy and MIT OCW, and snowboarding.
The Bon Group
In the Bon group we study the colloidal chemistry and physics of both organic and inorganic materials, focussing on how these structures assemble to give designed "supracolloidal structures". Most members of the Bon group work in close collaboration with industry such as BASF, Johnson & Johnson, Syngenta, and Akonobel. For these reasons environmental and economical considerations are often at the forefront of our research.
Our supervisor Stefan Bon gives a talk at the Warwick TEDx convention about the work going on in our group into materials at the submicron scale and highlights some of the cool potential applications of these materials:
A basic introduction to why we are interested in colloidal systems and the theory behind them is given in the following YouTube clip of Assoc. Prof. Stefan Bon and one of our previous students (Dr. Patrick Colver):
If you would like to learn more about colloids and their applications then you can follow the course given by Stefan Bon at the following website. There are also recorded lectures on YouTube that you can find by searching for bonlabTV. The first lecture in the series can be found by following the link below:
You can find out more about the Bon group at our group website.
29th May: Warwick Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium
9th July - 12th July 2012: MACROGROUP UK 2012 @ Warwick University
Warwick is to host the Macrogroup UK International conference on
Polymer Synthesis & UKPCF International Conference
on Polymer Colloids.