Research relating to colloidal suspensions, surfactants and polymers. Significantly, biology is almost entirely made up of ‘living soft matter’ – globular proteins are colloids, DNA is a stiff polymer, and the lipids forming cell membranes are essentially surfactants. Soft matter has been studied by chemists, chemical engineers and biologists for many years. It is increasingly clear, however, that these systems show generic properties independent of chemical details. For example, all polymers share certain properties simply because they are long strings of balls performing Brownian motion. This is the central reason why physicists are getting interested. Studying the generic properties of soft matter can give fresh insights into a broad range of fundamental questions that cut across the whole of condensed matter physics, e.g. concerning the nature of disordered solids.

Soft Matter Physics research at the University of Edinburgh

Items in this Collection

  • Interfacial rheology of sterically stabilized colloids at liquid interfaces and its effect on the stability of Pickering emulsions 

    Van Hooghten, Rob; Blair, Victoria; Vananroye, Anja; Schofield, Andrew; Vermant, Jan; Thijssen, Job
    Particle-laden interfaces can be used to stabilize a variety of high-interface systems, from foams over emulsions to polymer blends. The relation between the particle interactions, the structure and rheology of the interface, ...
  • BslA-stabilised emulsion droplets with designed microstructure 

    Bromley, Keith Matthew; MacPhee, Cait
    Original microscope images of BslA-stabilised emulsion droplets and two time-lapse confocal microscope sequences (available to view using ImageJ imaging software) of BslA-stabilised partially coalesced droplets melting in ...
  • Tunable Shear Thickening in Suspensions 

    Lin, Neil; Ness, Christopher; Cates, Mike; Sun, Jin; Cohen, Itai
    Shear thickening, an increase of viscosity with shear rate, is a ubiquitous phenomena in suspended materials that has implications for broad technological applications. Controlling this thickening behavior remains a major ...
  • DATA: Unsteady flow and particle migration in dense, non-Brownian suspensions 

    Hermes, Michiel
    We present experimental results on dense corn-starch suspensions as examples of non-Brownian, nearly-hard particles that undergo continuous and discontinuous shear thickening (CST and DST) at intermediate and high densities ...
  • Quantitative morphological characterization of bicontinuous Pickering emulsions via interfacial curvatures 

    Reeves, Matthew; Stratford, Kevin; Thijssen, Job
    Bicontinuous Pickering emulsions (bijels) are a physically interesting class of soft materials with many potential applications including catalysis, microfluidics and tissue engineering. They are created by arresting the ...
  • Two-scale evolution during shear reversal in dense suspensions 

    Ness, Christopher; Sun, Jin
    Matlab data files used to plot the figures in a paper titled "Two-scale evolution during shear reversal in dense suspensions".
  • Shear thickening regimes of dense non-Brownian suspensions 

    Ness, Christopher; Sun, Jin
    The images are the raw figures used to produce the plots in the paper entitled: “Shear thickening regimes of dense non-Brownian suspensions” with DOI:10.1039/C5SM02326B published in the Journal “Soft Matter” by the Royal ...
  • Hydrodynamic and Contact Contributions to Continuous Shear Thickening in Colloidal Suspensions 

    Lin, Neil; Guy, Ben Michael; Hermes, Michiel; Ness, Christopher; Sun, Jin; Poon, Wilson C. K.; Cohen, Itai
    Shear thickening is a widespread phenomenon in suspension flow that, despite sustained study, is still the subject of much debate. The longstanding view that shear thickening is due to hydrodynamic clusters has been ...
  • Simplicity in complexity – towards a soft matter physics of caramel 

    Weir, Simon
    Caramel is a mixture of sugars, milk proteins, fat and water cooked at high temperatures to initiate Maillard reactions. We study caramels as ‘active emulsion-filled protein gels’, in which fat droplets are chemically-bonded ...
  • Gravitational collapse of depletion-induced colloidal gels 

    Harich, R.; Blythe, T.W.; Hermes, M.; Zaccarelli, E.; Sederman, A.J.; Gladden, L.F.; Poon, W.C.K.
    We study the ageing and ultimate gravitational collapse of colloidal gels in which the interparticle attraction is induced by non-adsorbing polymers via the depletion effect. The gels are formed through arrested spinodal ...
  • Swimming In a Crystal 

    Brown, Aidan T.; Vladescu, Ioana D.; Dawson, Angela; Vissers, Teun; Schwarz-Linek, Jana; Lintuvuori, Juho S.; Poon, Wilson C. K.
    We study catalytic Janus particles and Escherichia coli bacteria swimming in a two-dimensional colloidal crystal. The Janus particles orbit individual colloids and hop between colloids stochastically, with a hopping rate ...
  • Particle-size effects in the formation of bicontinuous Pickering emulsions 

    Reeves, M.; Brown, A. T.; Schofield, A. B.; Cates, M. E.; Thijssen, J. H. J.
    We demonstrate that the formation of bicontinuous emulsions stabilized by interfacial particles (bijels) is more robust when nanoparticles rather than microparticles are used. Emulsification via spinodal demixing in the ...
  • Escherichia coli as a model active colloid: A practical introduction 

    Schwarz-Linek, Jana; Arlt, Jochen; Jepson, Alys; Dawson, Angela; Vissers, Teun; Miroli, Dario; Pilizota, Teuta; Martinez, Vincent A.; Poon, Wilson C. K.
    The flagellated bacterium Escherichia coli is increasingly used experimentally as a self-propelled swimmer. To obtain meaningful, quantitative results that are comparable between different laboratories, reproducible protocols ...
  • Towards a unified description of the rheology of hard-particle suspensions 

    Guy, B. M.; Hermes, M.; Poon, W. C. K.
    The rheology of suspensions of Brownian, or colloidal, particles (diameter~$d \lesssim 1~\mu$m) differs markedly from that of larger grains ($d \gtrsim 50~\mu$m). Each of these two regimes has been separately studied, but ...