Rideal Travel Bursary Recipient, Victoria Cunningham, Reports from New South Wales, Australia

22 Apr 2016

In 2015, Victoria Cunningham was awarded a Rideal Travel Bursary to support her placement at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Here, she tells us about her research project and what she gained from her placement.

‘I am currently studying for a PhD under the supervision of Prof Steve Armes at the University of Sheffield. As a result of a long-term collaboration I was given the opportunity to study at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia for a two-month placement under the supervision of Prof Erica Wanless. The placement was based in both the Newcastle institute for energy and resources (NIER) and the Engineering building within the University.

‘The aim of my project was to study the dynamics of coalescence of giant (millimetre-sized) Pickering droplets stabilised using some of the diblock copolymer nanoparticles prepared at the University of Sheffield during my PhD. Some important parameters we studied were the effect of particle size and morphology on the coalescence behaviour. By utilising the state-of-the-art high-speed video camera facilities available at the University of Newcastle I was able to examine the resilience of these oil droplets towards coalescence, both before and after in situ cross-linking, as well as assessing the dynamics of droplet coalescence. Access to the PAT tensiometer in the Newcastle laboratory, enabled me to determine the kinetics of nanoparticle adsorption of these giant Pickering emulsion droplets. As a result of my work at the University of Newcastle we are hoping to publish two papers.

‘This placement gave me the opportunity to travel to Australia and see some amazing sites which I might not have been able to do otherwise. It also allowed me to broaden my research experience in both colloid and surface chemistry.

‘I would like to thank Prof Erica Wanless for giving me the opportunity to work at the University of Newcastle as well as for the support and useful discussions along the way. I would also like to thank Prof Steve Armes for allowing me to undertake this project, and the SCI-RSC Rideal Trust for the financial contribution towards travelling to this placement.’

Victoria Cunningham
PhD student, University of Sheffield

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