EPSRC-Royal Society fellowship engagement (2012): Ageing, film formation and cracking in colloidal glasses

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Physics & Astronomy


Please refer to attached Royal Society application

Planned Impact

Please refer to attached Royal Society application


10 25 50
Description Our research has enabled us to understand a number of mechanisms responsible for failure in particle coatings with relevance to applications such as paints, glazes and ceramics. In particular we have been able to study the way in which drying induced stresses are released by deformations in the film known as shear bands. This has also resulted in applying a new technique at the European Synchotron Radiation Facility known as scanning micro-SAXS to measure the dynamic changes in film structure for the first time. This new technique opens up a new way to study such processes.

We have also studied fracture in jammed colloidal samples. The jamming of samples relates to a large area of research trying to understand why the viscosity of some colloids increases abruptly at a particular flow rate known as discontinuous shear thickening. Our work connects concepts in granular physics with this field by showing that there exist two types of jammed states (Fragile and Shear Jammed). Small vibrations prevented jamming in the "Fragile" state but were shown to have no influence on the "Shear Jammed" state.
Exploitation Route Our research on shear bands in colloidal films makes a connection between the poorly understood processes in coatings with the well developed literature on shear bands in metallic glasses where research into these structures is well developed. There are however still quite a few unanswered questions. In particular it is not clear whether these shear bands begin at the drying front or some distance behind it where the accumulated strain is larger. It is hoped that the new Scanning Micro-SAXS technique could be particularly useful in studying the strain fields that develop around the tips of propagating cracks.

Using vibrations to unjam samples could have practical applications in preventing jamming / clogging of nozzles (e.g in print heads) or pipe flow of foodstuffs. We hope to develop some of these ideas which might enable the printing of high solid contents drops. This could be of particular interest in fields such as 3D printing.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ppzmis/
Description EPSRC industrial case studentship
Amount £111,096 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2021
Description Collaboration with Schlumberger Cambridge 
Organisation Schlumberger Limited
Department Schlumberger Cambridge Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am supervising a PhD studentship which is researching problems of interest to the company in the area of clay rheology
Collaborator Contribution Schlumberger have provided access to facilities and a designated industrial phd supervisor for my student. They will also host the student for 3 months of his PhD.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2017
Description Nanoscience outreach 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A 1 day outreach event to a cohort of widening participation students currently studying A-levels. The events involved a lecture on current research and 4 lab activities to expose the students to undergraduate physics. The event also enabled the students to interact informally with staff and current post grad and undergrad students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016