Many biologically and technologically important materials ranging from oil-bearing rocks to printing paper have a highly intricate structure involving interconnected labyrinths of pores. The School has several research programs studying the flow properties of these disordered porous media. Improved understanding of the physics of such processes has applications ranging from the petrochemical industries to the design of bubble jet printer inks and papers. The School is a major partner in the CRC for Functional Communication Surfaces. A strong theoretical team and novel experimental facilities such as ultra high resolution computed tomography come together to make the School a leader in this area.
RSPE also undertakes research aimed at understanding the enigmatic processes of long range ordering and self assembly, which for example, enables animals like the sea urchin to construct a skeleton out of polycrystalline elements which collectively exhibit some single crystal properties. Biomineralisation has also many potential commercial applications such as the production of low temperature super ceramics as well as wider scientific implications such as the search for Martian life.
Potential student research projects
You could be doing your own research into fusion and plasma confinement. Below are some examples of student physics research projects available in RSPE.
What are the underlying geometric and topological properties of periodic structures that guarantee large and stable porosity in nano-porous crystalline materials required for gas storage and efficient catalysis?
This project will address significant problems of feasibility and tunability of novel photonic metadevices aiming to open novel possibilities for a control of light flows topologically protected against scattering losses, energy leaking, or imperfections.
Periodic frameworks, viewed as simple mechanisms, can be rigid or display a variety of exotic deformation properties such as surface modes or expansive auxetic motion. This project will conduct a systematic search for frameworks with these properties.
Please browse our full list of available physics research projects to find a student research project that interests you.