24 Feb 2012
Rideal Bursar Kate Thompson reports on her study visit to the University of Newcastle, Australia: 5 October to 1 December 2011.
Towards the end of the final year of my PhD, I was given the opportunity to visit the lab of Assoc Professor Erica J. Wanless at the University of Newcastle, Australia. My PhD has focused on the study of novel cross-linkable sterically-stabilised latexes. Such latexes have acted as excellent Pickering emulsifiers and it was this property that would be explored in more detail during my two month visit to Australia.
Working with A/Professor Wanless, Dr Seher Ata and Dr Grant Webber I was able to use a high speed video camera available at Newcastle to directly observe the coalescence of two oil droplets stabilised by these latex particles. The effect of latex particle size, concentration and oil type were all investigated. We hope to publish the results from this work early in 2012. This was an excellent opportunity to complete my scientific studies in a laboratory that is focused on the physical aspects of colloid science, rather than synthetic aspects.
I was also given the opportunity to give a departmental seminar to the rest of the faculty. This was a great chance to share my work with a wider audience and generated many interesting discussions.
Whilst in Australia I also attended the 12th Australia-Japan Colloid and Interface Science Symposium that was held from 21 to 23 November 2011 in Cairns. The title of my oral presentation was 'Covalently Cross-linked Colloidosomes' and looked at the assembly of microcapsules using polymer latex particles as building blocks. I was pleased that the presentation was well received with positive feedback and discussions from other delegates. The conference covered a wide range of themes including; polymer brushes, liquid marbles, atomic force microscopy and the interactions of air and oil droplets. I was able to listen to world leading scientists from both Australia and Japan in all areas of colloid science and interface science including Prof Kazue Kurihara from Tohuku University, Japan. The conference was extremely well organised and included a trip to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef which was an amazing experience.
Since returning from Australia I have submitted my PhD thesis and passed my viva. I am currently undertaking a one year EPSRC/University of Sheffield postdoctoral fellowship.
The experience of visiting the University of Newcastle was invaluable for my research and personal development and I would like to thank SCI for awarding me the Rideal Travel Bursary.
Kate Louise Thompson
University of Sheffield