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  • The School of Materials is a strong multidisciplinary community where we work together to carry out world class research and deliver excellence in education.

    Prof. William Sampson

    Head of School

Our Blog
  • #MondayMaterials Episode 31 – Dr Claudia Henninger (Part II)

    Tuesday, September 26, 2017

    We are pleased to bring you a brand new #MondayMaterials. You may remember our chat with Dr Claudia Henninger last summer. She agreed to sit down with us again and tell us what she’s working on now: Hi Claudia – it’s great to catch up again! It’s been more than...

  • Management and Marketing Seminar entitled Country of Origin Image (COI) – a firm perspective

    Wednesday, October 18, 2017

    In recent years, the country of origin subject has been invigorated by a debate about its real significance in international marketing. While some scholars argue that country of origin image (COI) may not be as important as previously assumed, others advocate its relevance and believe that the thematic still influences the evaluation process of a product/brand. Whilst studies on the topic investigate COI through the consumer lens my research looks at the COI through the firm perspective connecting marketing and strategy literature in the context of international business. My MSc dissertation looked at the Country of Origin Image (COI) usage as a source of competitive advantage for Brazilian Fashion designers entering international markets. My PhD research broadened the topic by investigating the COI as a branding resource for companies in the internationalisation process (strategy and International Business literature). To accomplish my PhD research goals, I worked on two case studies and developed a scale to measure the importance given by the company to the incorporation of COI as a resource into branding strategy. Results showed that the construct is manifested through four different dimensions: visual and textual elements, natural resources, cultural resources and senses. Speaker biography Dr Mariana Suter from the University of York is a Lecturer in Marketing at The York Management School. She holds a PhD and a MSc in Business Studies from the University of São Paulo, where she conducted research on international marketing and strategy. Mariana earned her bachelor’s degree in Business from the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP) in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2003). She received a post-graduate degree in Fashion Business from Centro Universitário Senac in 2009. Mariana has been a lecturer in undergraduate and MBA programs since 2013. Before that she worked for companies in the apparel industry, from knit to retail, for brands such as C&A and Calvin Klein. Her main research interest is to conduct interdisciplinary studies bounding marketing and strategy. Please could you confirm attendance for catering numbers by emailing

    School of Materials Seminar entitled "Towards Durable Hydrophobicity and Omniphobicity"

    Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    Micro and nanoengineered functional surfaces have recently received significant attention due to their ability to enhance the efficiency and performance of a variety of applications. Although demonstrated on the lab scale, the successful integration of these surfaces into systems has been slow due mainly to issues related to poor longevity, unproven scalability, and inability to handle working fluids having low surface tensions. Furthermore, the utilization of these surfaces in thermal domains has been even tougher due to the need to keep coatings ultra-thin to avoid adding parasitic thermal resistances. In this talk, I will discuss fundamental studies of hydrophobic and omniphobic surface durability during both water vapor condensation and a variety of fluid-surface interactions. Our studies provide key insights related to the design of smooth and rough functional surfaces and help pinpoint future breakthroughs needed to improve the robustness and implementation of hydrophobic and omniphobic coatings. Speaker Biography At UIUC, Nenad leads the Energy Transport Research Laboratory (ETRL). The ETRL’s research has advanced the efficiency of various industrial processes including energy (power generation, oil & gas, HVAC&R), water, transportation, and electronics cooling, by fundamentally altering thermal-fluid-surface interactions. Previous to this, Nenad’s PhD work focused on the design and characterization of micro/nanostructured surfaces for enhanced condensation heat transfer. He is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award, and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellowship.

    School of Materials Seminar entitled "Colloidal processing of graphene oxide: Pickering emulsions, capsules and magnetic adventures"

    Wednesday, December 13, 2017

    It is now widely accepted that graphene oxide and related 2-dimensional nanomaterials can stabilise emulsions and foams at a fraction of the material cost when compared to the conventional 3D (usually spherical) particles employed for Pickering/Ramsden emulsification (1). Emulsions stabilised by graphene oxide show remarkable stability, and can be tuned by changes in solution conditions, making them interesting candidates for a range of applications.Such emulsions are exquisitely sensitive to the parameters used during their formulation, which affect the interactions between graphene oxide and the oil–water interface: pH, salt, oil type, and the presence of other additives. Their stability to dilution is particularly appealing when compared to molecularly stabilised emulsions. In most cases, emulsification of oil in water with graphene oxide gives simple oil-in-water emulsions (1). However, for certain oils, carefully engineered solution conditions result in single-step production of multiple emulsions (2), leading readily to multi-compartment capsules through polymerisation of the outer droplet interface. Controlling the outer ‘skin’ of these capsules allows for controlled release of active agents contained within, with potential applications in agriculture and water treatment. The same colloid chemistry – understanding stability and interactions, can be used to exert subtle control over graphene oxide using light-switchable surfactants (3) or non-covalently bound magnetic particles (4) or magnetic molecules (5). This enhances opportunities for using this material to capture toxins or valuable materials from water at low concentrations, and provides new routes for remediation and refining. (1) J Phys. Chem. C 118 (2014) 4529-4535. (2) ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9 (2017) 18187–18198. (3) Nanoscale 8 (2016) 6969–6974. (4) ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 7 (2015) 2124–2133. (5) J. Colloid Interface Sci. 464 (2016) 285–290. Rico Tabor is an ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University. He leads the Soft Materials and Colloids Laboratory within the School of Chemistry. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol, UK, and went on to undertake a PhD in the surfactant lab of Prof. Julian Eastoe, graduating in 2009. The topic of his PhD was investigating the kinetics and aggregation of surfactants in non-aqueous solvents, with particular focus on nanoparticle stabilisation. Late in 2009, Rico emigrated to Australia to take up a post-doctoral position at the University of Melbourne, exploring interactions in soft colloidal systems using atomic force microscopy. In 2012, Rico took up a lectureship in the School of Chemistry at Monash University. His group’s research is focused on several key areas of soft materials and colloidal systems: Applications of small-angle neutron scattering, light scattering and atomic force microscopy in studies of soft and self-assembled systems. Novel surfactants and their properties, including pH and photo-responsive molecules; Carbon nanomaterials (especially graphene oxide) with particular focus on colloidal and interfacial properties. Rico has published 75 papers across a range of topics in surface and colloid science, and works extensively with industry on applications of colloidal systems to practical problems.

    The world is not flat: organic electronic devices for hosting and monitoring cells in 3D

    Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    My research program focuses on harnessing the power of engineering for developing in vitro biological models in a synthetic biology approach. By developing both the biological model and the adapted monitoring methods in parallel, both may be iteratively improved resulting in enhanced systems. I define the latter combination as in vitro systems: an integrated system to monitor human biology in vitro. Specifically, I have focused on the use of polymeric electroactive materials and devices which bridge a gap between hard inflexible materials used for physical transducers and soft, compliant biological tissues. The transducer thus becomes a ‘synthetic’ part of the model, allowing transduction and/ or stimulation of biological systems in the least invasive and thus most biomimetic fashion possible. In this presentation I will discuss our recent progress in adding to the repertoire of tissue engineers; alongside the well-known biochemical and mechanical cues used to recreate biologically relevant tissues, we attempt to integrate electrical cues. Electrical cues have a demonstrated role in development, not just for electrogenic tissues, but for all tissues. To enable the trifecta of stimuli necessary for recreating tissues in vitro, we have generated conducting polymer scaffolds blended with biopolymers such as collagen. I will show evidence that these structures can simultaneously host and monitor tissues. Speaker Biography Dr. Róisín M. Owens received her BA in Natural Sciences (Mod. Biochemistry) at Trinity College Dublin, and her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Southampton University. She carried out two postdoctoral fellowships at Cornell University, on host-pathogen interactions of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology with Prof. David Russell, and on rhinovirus therapeutics in the Department of Biomedical Engineering with Prof. Moonsoo Jin. From 2009 to2017 she was a group leader in the department of bioelectronics at Ecole des Mines de St. Etienne, on the microelectronics campus in Provence. Her current research centres on application of organic electronic materials for monitoring biological systems in vitro, with a specific interest in studying the gut-brain-microbiome axis. She has received several awards including the European Research Council starting (2011), proof of concept grant (2014) and consolidator (2016) grants, a Marie Curie fellowship, and an EMBO fellowship. In 2014, she became principal editor for biomaterials for MRS communications (Cambridge University Press), and she serves on the advisory board of Advanced BioSystems and Journal of Applied Polymer Science (Wiley). She is author of 50+ publications.

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