The Sheffield Colloid Network is a student run group aiming to bring together researchers working on colloids from across the University. We have participants from departments such as Chemistry, Physics, Engineering and Dentistry so many aspects of colloid science will be represented. We are looking to provide a platform for interdepartmental communication for all researchers with an interest in colloids including masters and PhD students, post-doctoral workers and academics.

Recent Activity

5th Annual Postgraduate Symposium on Nanotechnology

Congratulations to our treasurer Laura Shallcross on winning the Nature Chemistry Prize for Best Oral Presentation at the 5th Annual Postgraduate Symposium on Nanotechnology at the University of Birmingham!

Evening Seminar by Dr Lee Fielding, University of Manchester and SCN Alumni – 14th December 2015

On Monday the 14th of December, former University of Sheffield and SCN alumni Dr Lee Fielding is coming to give a talk about his academic career path from PhD to recently appointed lecturer. The talk is going to be held in G14 of the Dainton building at 5:15pm. To get in the spirit of Christmas the talk will be followed by refreshments of mince pies and wine.

SCN Introductory Meeting: Thursday 12th November 12-2 pm

Now that the new intake of PhD students has had a few weeks to settle in, we feel that it is time to introduce them to the Sheffield Colloid Network. As a result we are hosting an introductory meeting in G14 of the Dainton Building from 12-2 pm on Thursday 12th November. The event will consist of a few short talks from the SCN committee as well as a short seminar from Dr Sebastian Spain on his research interests. There will then be a chance for existing members to answer any questions that the new intake may have over a light lunch.

CDT Summer School 14th-15th July 2015

An exciting opportunity has been made available to SCN members: the Summer School for the CDT in Polymers, Soft Matter and Colloids. This 2 day summer school will run from 14th – 15th July 2015 at Halifax Hall. Day one will cover external and internal presentations in the morning and a workshop in the afternoon to improve your presentation skills. Day two will see presentations from CDT and SCN members in the morning, followed by a proposal writing workshop in the afternoon. The summer school is suitable for PhD students at any level and post-doctoral researchers looking to improve their presentation and writing skills and CVs.

Industrial Seminar – Use of Central Facilities in Industry: Is there Life after PhD? – 30th June 2015

The SCN committee are excited to announce an industrial seminar by Prof. Peter Dowding, FRSC The seminar will be held in The Dainton Building LT1 at 2 pm on Tuesday 30th June. Refreshments will be served before the lecture, everyone is welcome.


Use of Central Facilities in Industry: Is there Life after PhD?
The use of central facilities (x-rays and neutrons) can elucidate valuable structural information about chemical systems e.g. size and shape of self-assembled species from small angle scattering, through to longer range ordering, such as crystal structures from wide angle, diffraction studies and even imaging through x-ray tomography. The power of such techniques goes way beyond capabilities found in academic or industrial research laboratories. However, such central facilities are sometimes considered the doyen of academic groups, requiring ultra-pure and/ or even model compounds which show little similarity to industrial formulations. The aim of this talk is to dispel this myth. The routes to accessing beamtime as an industrialist will be discussed and results will be presented covering a wide range of beamline techniques, using actual industrial systems and even part/ full formulations which are used as lubricant and fuel additives. Additives are used inlubricants and fuels to minimise destructive processes in the engine (e.g. wear and corrosion) and to confer beneficial properties (e.g. improved fuel economy). Specifically, the talk will highlight recent mechanistic studies of surfactant competition between surfactant-stabilised particles and other surface active species found in the engine. For these studies, a convenient method for studying the kinetics of surfactant interaction involves the use of partially deuterated aromatic surfactants produced by an H – D exchange reaction, performed on industrial surfactant samples. Such a reaction results in a d-head group, d-aromatic ring and a partial deuteration of the alkyl tail and allowed time-resolved stopped flow measurements to be performed using small angle neutron scattering (using D22 at the ILL, Grenoble).

One Day International Symposium - 6th May 2015

The SCN are excited to announce we will be hosting a free one day symposium on Wednesday 6th May. This event has been scheduled to coincide with the visit of the Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science and BioNanoTechnology groups from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. The day will consist of talks by both academics and students from the visiting group and the University of Sheffield, as well as a poster session with plenty of opportunity for networking.

We will have several slots for oral presentations on the day and also the opportunity to present a poster. For early stage researchers this will be a great chance to present your work (to an international audience!). We hope to cover a broad range of topics on the day so hope there will be something to interest you all.


Industrial Seminar - 'Making a Mark with Colloid Science' - 24th of February 2015

The first industrial seminar organised by the SCN is now confirmed - our speaker will be Dr Andrew Howe from the University of Cambridge. The seminar will be held in The Dainton Building LT6 from 14.45-16.00 on Tuesday 24th Februrary. Refreshments will be served before the lecture, everyone is welcome we hope to see you there!


Colloid and interface science underlies many printing technologies through the ages. In this presentation, I will describe the application of colloid science in the recent technology of inkjet printing using examples first of coatings and then of inks from studies undertaken in Kodak European Research.

To enable photographic-quality printing at high speeds, the paper or plastic substrate must have a microporous coating. One material used in inkjet receiver coatings is Catapal 200, which disperses in water to give intergrown 40nm boehmite crystallites that are highly anisotropic. The rheological behaviour of concentrated suspensions of Catapal 200 is novel and includes irreversible shear thickening and subsequent, reversible switching between jammed and high-viscosity states. Such behaviour produces difficulties in manufacturing. This talk will describe the Catapal suspension rheology and the design of dispersants that make the suspensions less interesting in the laboratory but much more welcome in the coating plant.

One of the major challenges for inkjet printing is to print a water-based ink directly onto a plastic substrate. Usually solvent-based, hot-melt or reactive ink technologies are employed but these are expensive and can be environmentally problematic. A “smart” solution has devised for continuous inkjet printing, a very high speed, commercial printing technology. The smart ink uses microgel suspensions of the thermally responsive polymer, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), PNIPAM that can show a large and rapid change in viscosity with temperature.

Flash Presentation Event - 5th of November 2014

The next SCN event has now been planned - it will again be in the form of a 'Flash Presentation' meeting. The meeting will take place on Wednesday 5th November from 12-2 in G14 in the Dainton building. For those who did not attend our previous flash presentation session the format will be as follows. You have the opportunity to give a short (3-5 minute) presentation introducing your research area.

Presentations should be pitched to suit an interdisciplinary audience as not everyone will be from your department or even faculty! Each presentation will be followed by a short period for questions before and there will be time for more informal networking over lunch. We hope the timing of this event should allow any new colloid researchers who have just started in this phase to come along and find out a bit about the range of colloid research currently being undertaken within the university. Please please spread the work to any new Post docs, PhDs or UG project students within your group who this may be of interest to (they are also very welcome to present if they would like to!!).

If you would like to attend please reply to this google doc -(http://goo.gl/forms/gTHab4sxti), as we need to confirm numbers for catering. If you would like to give a presentation please reply to this email with your title. As we need to know numbers for catering please respond to the event included so we can provide a decent lunch!

Another Successful Event - 30th of July 2014

Firstly thank you to all the speakers and attendees at yesterday’s meeting. We hope you found these interesting and informative. Even with a fairly small number of talks we feel the range of colloid based research within the university was apparent. We again had a good turn out from across a number of departments within the University, and it already seems there are some possible collaborations! Without such good support we could not continue to host these events and push towards our first goal of hosting an internal conference at the end of the year.


Flash Presentation Event - 30th of July 2014

As promised, we have managed to rearrange a date for the "flash presentation evening". Due to rescheduling the event will be held at 12-2pm on the 30th of July in G14 in the Dainton Buliding. This will be comprised of a series of short 5 minute talks lasting approximately 45 minutes followed by a buffet style lunch. We are looking to have speakers from all disciplines represented in the colloid network. If you would be interested in giving a presentation please email a brief summary of your research topic to sheffield-colloid-network@sheffield.ac.uk.

Inaugural Meeting - 6th of June 2014

Our first meeting will be held on Friday 6th June from 12-2pm in G14 in the Dainton Building. This informal meeting will include a FREE LUNCH and provide an opportunity to meet and network with researchers from across the university involved in colloid research. (It is also your chance to share with us any ideas you may have and any particular events you would like to see organised by the network to help encourage collaborations and maximise Sheffield’s colloid research potential.)