Polymers, Nanocomposites and Modelling Research Centre
The Polymers, Nanocomposites and Modelling Research Centre is involved in the study of advanced polymeric systems, the application of computer simulation and mathematical modelling to materials challenges, and addresses the efficiency of energy conversion devices.
The main areas of emphasis are
- exfoliated clay-based polymeric nanocomposites, which offer enhanced mechanical, barrier and fire retardant properties to polymeric systems for use in structural, packaging and coating applications
- the application of vibrational spectroscopy to the study of controlled release from polymer matrices, polymer formation, gelation and degradation, mapping and imaging of polymer formulations, chemometric data analysis of spectra
- computer simulation and mathematical modelling of a range of materials, including state-of-the-art lattice Boltzman computational fluid dynamics techniques for describing fluid flow and fluid-structure interaction behaviour
- modelling the energy efficiency or devices and systems which convert energy from one form to another
- applying engineering analysis and modelling techniques to support fundamental research, product development and minimising the carbon and financial cost
The interests of the Polymers, Composites and Spectroscopy Group (PCAS) encompass polymers, minerals and composites.
The group routinely applies quantitative vibrational spectroscopy and thermoanalytical methods to characterise the innovative materials under investigation.
Representative research areas include
- fire retardant and barrier properties of clay polymer nanocomposites
- competitive sorption processes in nanocomposite formulations
- stimuli responsive polymers
- transport mechanisms in polymeric and composite systems
- thermal and biodegradation of polymers and composites
- crystallisation and deformation behaviour of polymers
- gelation mechanisms of polymers
- the use of surface restructured clays as catalysts ad sorbents
The Materials and Fluid Flow Modelling Group is involved in the computer simulation and mathematical modelling of a range of materials and related materials processing techniques. Much of our work uses statistical mechanical simulation methods including molecular dynamics, Metropolis Monte Carlo and lattice Boltzmann methods.
The aim of the work is to develop new simulation techniques and models which can form the basis of predictive modelling of materials and their processing. One of the key challenges in predictive modelling is the development of models which bridge the length scales from the molecular scale to the macroscopic continuum scale. Lattice models are ideally suited as coarse grained models and we have applied them with considerable success to a range of systems.
Facilities used include a range of UNIX workstations housed in a purpose-built, dedicated computing laboratory, and time on external facilities including the Cray T3E at Edinburgh.
Our work is funded by a variety of industrial and government agencies including DERA Malvern, ICI Wilton, Albright and Wilson, and Rolls Royce Associates, as well as EPSRC. We are also partners in a High Performance Computing Initiative Project.
MERI has a dedicated team of experienced engineers available to transfer its energy engineering knowledge into business and organisations.
Known as Hallam Energy, the team can help to
- reduce energy consumption
- increase energy efficiency and reduce CO² emissions
- enhance corporate social responsibility
- adopt a sustainable approach to business development
For more information on the services offered, please visit the Hallam Energy website.