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Meeting of the International Colloids Group, Italy, July 2009

Catheline Colard

I would like to thank SCI for its support. With the help of the SCI’s Rideal Travel Bursary, I attended the IPCG (International Polymer Colloids Group) Conference on Polymer Colloids in Il Ciocco, Italy, on 6-11 July 2009 and I chaired the IPCG Graduate Research Seminar on July 4-6. This conference was following the traditions of a Gordon Research Conference touching on the frontiers of research in polymer colloids. A very diverse programme was proposed from fundamentals and applications to futurist aspects, with sessions on the assembly of polymer colloids, hybrid particles and particle morphology, film formation, controlled radical polymerisation, colloidal interactions, microgels and stimuli responsive particles and also nanomedicine and biomedical applications.

It was a unique opportunity for me to meet and network closely with a world-leading audience of scientists. The conference gave me the great chance to share my work on the ‘Assembly of Inorganic and Polymer Particles into Supracolloidal Structures’ in a poster presentation. Leading industries interested in polymer colloids such as BASF, Cytec and Wacker were also represented. It was really interesting to also discuss the effect on the chemical sector of the current economic crisis particularly on job opportunities. Interestingly, in some industries there is a lack of spontaneous applications of good candidates.

I had the chance to get involved in this conference, not only by presenting my work, but also, by participating as one of the three student-chairs. Our role was to organise the programme of the Graduate Research Seminar which involved participation of 30 PhD students and 3 world-leader scientists. Selected on their abstracts, we distributed 13 student talks over three master classes. Advanced introductory lectures were given by Prof. Alex van Herk (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands), Prof. Tim Mc Kenna (Queen’s University, Canada) and Prof. Alfons van Blaaderen (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) for each master class untitled Emulsion Polymerisation, Polymer Reaction Engineering and Physics of Colloids, respectively. I chaired this last session. To optimise networking and interactions between students and academics/industrials, throughout the main conference we paired each student with one leading scientist who served as mentor. The student-chairs for the next graduate research seminar in two years (2011) were also elected and we passed on all the information and advice we had to help on the future organisers. We were invited as organisers to participate in the closed IPCG meeting.

Throughout the conference, I also presented one of the EASE (Exciting And Simple Experiments) provided by my research group, 'How does a nanoparticle dance at the interface' by David L. Cheung and Stefan A. F. Bon.

My PhD project was funded by Wacker Chemie (Burghausen, Germany) and is therefore partly confidential. I have been exploring the formation of supracolloidal structure using interface-driven strategies. I presented my work on armoured particles prepared in miniemulsion (1) and emulsion polymerisation (2) via the so-called 'Pickering stabilisation method' and on the preparation of reinforced low glass transition polymer foams using ice crystals as template to generate the highly porous structure. Using this method we developed a new generation of gas sensors, this work was published recently as a cover article in Advanced Materials (3).

  • (1) Packing Patterns of Silica Nanoparticles on Surfaces of Armored Polystyrene Latex Particles, Sara Fortuna, Catheline A. L. Colard, Alessandro Troisi, and Stefan A. F. Bon, Langmuir, ASAP (13 May), 2009. (Cover 02 Nov. 2009)
  • (2) Multi-layered Nanocomposite Polymer Colloids using Emulsion Polymerisation Stabilised by Solid Particles Patrick J. Colver, Catheline A. L. Colard, and Stefan A. F. Bon, J.Am.Chem.Soc. , 2008, 130(50), 16850-16851.
  • (3) Conducting Nanocomposite Polymer Foams from Ice-Crystal Templated Assembly of Mixtures of Colloids Catheline A. L. Colard, Richard A. Cave, Nadia Grossiord, James A. Covington, and Stefan A. F. Bon, Adv.Mater. , 2009, 21(28), 2894-2898.

Catheline Colard
University of Warwick
My contact details and some information can be found on LinkedIn

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