PhD project: Controlling the production of bijels by direct mixing.

Project description

A major breakthrough in soft matter physics was the demonstration that it was possible to create bicontinuous emulsions (bijels) stabilized by colloidal particles [1]. This year ourselves and others have shown that a similar structure can be made using much simpler approaches [2]. These alternative approaches should make it easier to produce bijels using a diverse range of ingredients – hence a spectrum of experiments and applications would become possible. The physics behind this problem concerns the conditions under which a material, made up of two domains, switches over from having one domain continuous to having the other domain continuous. At the point at which the switch occurs the system either becomes a bijel or it becomes a multiple emulsion (forms droplets inside droplets). Both cases are fascinating.

In this project you will attempt to use the approaches demonstrated in [2] to show that they work with other combinations of liquids and particles. As well as demonstrating that other combinations are possible, this will lead to fundamental understanding of these new routes.

[1] Stratford et al. Science 309, 2198 (2005); Herzig et al. Nat. Mater. 6, 966 (2007).

[2] Cai et al. Soft Matter 133, 4824 (2017); Huang et al. Nat. Nanotech. 12, 1060–1063 (2017).

Project supervisor

  • (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)

The project supervisor welcomes informal enquiries about this project.

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