- 1998-2002 MA, MSci, Natural Sciences Cambridge University
- 2002-2005 PhD, Theory of Condensed matter group, Cambridge University Main chain and smectic liquid crystalline elastomers supervised by Prof. Mark Warner
- 2005-2007 Research Fellowship Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, worked with Prof. Peter Olmsted and Dr Suzanne Fielding on models of shear banding in wormlike micelles, and Prof. Sergio Conti and Prof. Antonio DeSimone on microstructure in smectic elastomers
- 2005-2008 Junior Research fellowship at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
- 2008-2009 Postdoctoral researcher Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge
- 2009-present Lecturer University of Surrey
- 2011 Awarded the Instutite of Physics Liquids and Complex Fluids Early Career Researcher Prize
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- Departmental duties Level 1 Coordinator 2009-2014
- Member of the Board of Studies Sub-Committee 2009-2014
- Member of the Staff Student Liaison Committee 2009-2019
- Chairman of the Board of Studies Sub-Committee 2014-2019
- Chairman of the Board of Studies 2014-2019
- Member of the Quality and Standards Subcommittee 2018-2019
Affiliations and memberships
My research interests are focused on the properties of polymer systems, including:
- Elasticity of smectic liquid crystalline elastomers
- Ferroelectric smectic liquid crystalline elastomers
- Quasiconvexification and microstructure in elastomers
- Hairpin defects and main chain elastomers
- Chiral random walks and polarization in main chain elastomers
- Shear banding in complex fluids
- Non-equilibrium thermodynamics
- Topological defects in liquid crystals
- Switchable adhesion
- Fluid instabilities in Liquid Crystalline Polymer Flow
The aim of this project was to investigate the use of LCEs as switchable PSAs using theoretical techniques. The tack energy indifferent liquid crystalline phases, and with various orientations will be calculated to ascertain the tack energy change on switching. The properties of the contact between a rough metal substrate and the adhesive layer will also be modeled.
Indicators of esteem
Visiting Fellow of Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge, and Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, June 2013.
Completed postgraduate research projects I have supervised
Completed PhD Students
- Andrew Brown - Numerical Modelling of Stretched Smectic Elastomer Sheets: Mechanical Properties and Microstructure
Co-Supervised PhD Students:
- David Makepeace
- Phil Richardson
Postgraduate research supervision
Co-Supervised PhD Students:
- Virgina Apostolopoulou
- FHEQ 6 Advanced Quantum Physics , lectured in Semester 1 2012/13 and 2013/14.
- FHEQ 7 Financial Derivatives, lectured in Semester 2 2015/16 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19
- FHEQ 5 Energy and Entropy, lectured in Semester 1 2012/13 to 2018/19
- FHEQ 4 Mathematical and Computational Physics, lectured in Semester 2 2011/12, until 2016/17
- FHEQ 4 Essential Mathematics, computing labs in Semester 1 2017/18 and 2018/19
- Level 1 Scientific Investigation Skills, lectured in Semester 1 2011.
- Level 1 Mathematics III , lectured in Semester 2 2009/10, 2010/11.
- Level 3 Quantum Physics , lectured in Semester 1 in 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12.
BSc Final Year Projects
David Hartley, 2019 - Modelling opinion shifts with the random field ising model
Ehsan Mansouri, 2019 - Statistical Mechanics of Machine Learning
George Owen, 2018 - Portfolio analysis using Random Matrices
John Shaw, 2018 - Reaction Diffusion modelling of order book dynamics
Rushabh Amin, 2017 - Reaction Diffusion modelling of order book dynamics
Samuel Bonsor, 2017 - Flow instabilities in complex fluids
Michael Hughes, 2016 - Stability Analysis of Transient Flow Instabilities
Courses I teach on
propose a mechanism for reversibly switchable adhesion based on the reversibility of the isotropic to nematic transition. Finally we consider the influence of several material parameters that could be used to tune the stress?strain response.
Colloidal polymer composites, in which polymer particles are blended with a filler, are widely used in applications including pharmaceuticals, crop protection, inks, and protective coatings. It is generally found that the presence of hard particulate fillers will increase the elastic modulus of a polymer colloid composite. However, the influence of the size of the filler particle on the large-strain deformation and fracture and on the viscoelastic characteristics, including creep, is not well explored. We hypothesize that the size ratio of the filler to the colloidal polymer will play a critical role in determining the properties of the composite.
Colloidal composites were prepared by blending soft polymer colloids (as a binder) with calcium carbonate fillers having four different sizes, spanning from 70 nm to 4.5 mm. There is no bonding between the filler and matrix in the composites. The large-strain deformation, linear viscoelasticity, and creep were determined for each filler size for increasing the filler volume fractions (fCC). Weibull statistics were used to analyze the distributions of strains at failure.
We find that the inclusion of nano-fillers leads to brittle fracture at a lower fCC than when mm-size fillers are used. The data interpretation is supported by Weibull analysis. However, for a given fCC, the storage modulus is higher in the rubbery regime, and the creep resistance is higher when nanoparticles are used. Using scanning electron microscopy to support our arguments, we show that the properties of colloidal composites are correlated with their microstructure, which can be altered through control of the filler:polymer particle size ratio. Hard nanoparticles pack efficiently around larger particles to provide reinforcement (manifested as a higher storage modulus and greater creep resistance), but they also introduce weak points that lead to brittleness.