Rideal bursar Marius Rutkevičius on the 27th Conference of the European Colloid and Interface Society

7 Oct 2013

Rideal bursar Marius Rutkevičius reports on his visit to the 27th Conference of the European Colloid and Interface Society (ECIS2013), which took place from 1- 6 September, 2013 in Sofia, Bulgaria:

Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to present both an oral presentation and a poster. My presentation fell within the topic of 'Complex Fluids and Environmental Colloid Science, within COST action MP1106' and was entitled 'Preparation and characterisation of environmentally biodegradable lignin nanoparticles'1. I presented our recent work on preparation of lignin nanoparticles, which were found to be non-toxic for microorganisms and had a high surface area for loading with active components. At the end of the presentation I received constructive feedback from the attendees, who also showed their appreciation.

My poster was in the section of Surfactants, Lipids and Self-Assembly, Polymers, Gels and Phase Behaviour and its title was 'Hydrogel templating technique to fabricate lightweight meso-porous composites'2,3. This poster summarised part of my PhD work. I presented a new method of introducing porosity to cement and PDMS by adding a hydrogel slurry prior to the material solidification, resulting in a porous structure after evaporating the template (hydrogel). The poster attracted a high level of interest and I was excited to present it to so many people.

The plenary speakers included David Weitz (Harvard, USA), Jeffery Penfold (Oxford, UK) and my principal supervisor, Vesselin Paunov (Hull, UK). A wide range of topics was covered, including charge stabilisation of colloid particles, particle growth, self-assembly and encapsulation.

I was able to learn about topics beyond the immediate focus of my research, including charges and methods to produce application-focussed colloids, which I may be able to use in my future career.

I was able to approach scientists from different organisations and speak about their research and possible future work opportunities within their research groups. We also discussed the possibility of visiting laboratories in different research centres to carry out some experiments. Other presentations which were interesting, but not so relevant to my own research, may well be of interest to my colleagues, and I have been able to pass on details to them. I have also been able to discuss the event with members of the Surfactant and Colloid Group at Hull.

Attending the ECIS2013 conference has not only allowed to present my work to the research community, but also broadened my view of colloidal chemistry and allowed to meet researchers from around the world and make essential contacts, which I will be able to use in my future career. Finally, the conference was a superb way to become a member of the COST action.

1 C. Frangville, M Rutkevičius, A P Richter, O D Velev, S D Stoyanov and V N Paunov, ChemPhysChem, 2012, 13, 4235-4243.
2 M Rutkevičius, S K Munusami, Z Watson, A D Field, M Salt, S D Stoyanov, J Petkov, G H Mehl and V N Paunov, Mater. Res. Bull., 2012, 47, 980-986.
3 M Rutkevičius, G H Mehl, V N Paunov, Q Qin, P A Rubini, S D Stoyanov and J Petkov, J. Mater. Res., 2013, 28, 2409-2414.

Marius Rutkevicius,
University of Hull

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