Squishy Nanomaterials & their Interactions with Surfaces

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Patrick Spicer

Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering

University of New South Wales

Sydney (Australia)

#61 Under the Microscope | Squishy Nanomaterials & their Interactions with SurfacesPranoti | Patrick
00:00 / 04:16
#62 Under the Microscope | Squishy Nanomaterials & their Interactions with SurfacesPranoti | Patrick
00:00 / 26:38

Please explain your research in simple words

We work with industry and academic partners to design fluid flow behaviour and performance. Complex fluids contain small amounts of particles, polymers, and surfactants and are a key part of most major products and manufacturing processes. Our experiments try to link fluid structure and flow to improve our physical modeling capabilities in this area.

I'll introduce myself and talk about some of my experiences with nanoscience research and development in both industry and academia, especially as it impacts the creation and application of soft materials.

What can the followers expect in your curation week?

How did you end up in your current research field?

I learned about science from a group of oceanography researchers, was taught to be a chemical engineer by academics and industrialists, worked in development and manufacturing of consumer products, and then returned to the university to try and bridge the gaps I see between fundamental and applied research in my field. I am fascinated by the complexity of “everyday” materials that we often take for granted but that can teach us so much about science and health.

My work has always been centered around the flow and structure of soft and squishy materials. Systems that are actually liquids but can physically behave as solids or liquids depending on minor changes.

How and where does your research fall in the domain of materials/nano science?

Which research project are you most proud of and could you explain it in simple words in the section we call #InOtherwords?

My experiences developing materials that mimic the structure of newborn skin and were used to develop one of the first products to protect premature infants from life-threatening infection.

Complex fluid rheology and Chemical Product Design!

If you teach, which are the courses would you like to mention?

If you had 3 wishes to improve your research experience, what would you ask for (not promising anything here!)?

Improved ECR experiences, Continued expansion of virtual conferences and accessibility, and more insights into science communication

These days 3 months in the future seems like an eternity. Mostly I hope for more global stability and collaboration on the big issues facing humanity. In my research? I'm looking forward to some fascinating experimental results on the release of biological nanoparticles from pollen grains so we can better understand the causes of catastrophic thunderstorm asthma.

What are you most looking forward to in the next 3 months?

Which challenges/questions is the nano/materials science field facing at the moment?

The more we can truly bridge interdisciplinary gaps the faster we can make real progress on big questions. Some of the most interesting and rapid progress has been made when diverse specialties collaborate, like the huge jumps being made by developmental biologists working with computer scientists to develop entirely new microscopy capabilities.