Liquids and Complex Fluids Group
The Liquids and Complex Fluids Group aims to advance research into the liquid state of matter, complex fluids, and soft condensed matter by fostering collaborations between experimentalists, theorists and computer simulators working in these fields.
Its scope encompasses both structure and dynamics from microscopic to mesoscopic and macroscopic length scales in systems ranging from ʽsimpleʼ liquids to all kinds of complex fluids and soft materials such as polymers, emulsions, gels, foams, colloids, liquid crystals, and their biological counterparts. As such, the group enjoys close links with the Polymer Physics Group and the Biological Physics Group.
Other topics covered include liquid mixtures and solvation phenomena, liquids and glasses under extreme conditions, confined liquids and fluids at interfaces, the glass transition and arrested states of matter (including the structure of glasses and amorphous solids), crystal growth in liquids, and self-assembly from solution.
This highly interdisciplinary field has industrial links in the pharmaceutical, petroleum and plastics, food and personal care industries, among others. The physical realisation of many ideal model systems is of interest to physicists interested in statistical mechanics, liquids, elasticity, flow behaviour and rheology, and non-equilibrium phenomena.
Nevertheless, liquids and complex fluids are topics that are poorly covered in the traditional undergraduate curriculum so a distinctive aim of the group is postgraduate education, for example, via graduate schools aimed at the exposition of basic ideas that cut across the sub-disciplines of the field. Another aim is the development of new instrumentation for work on liquids and complex fluids at UK supported X-ray and neutron sources together with sophisticated data interpretation tools.
The Group therefore benefits from interactions with the Neutron Scattering Group where appropriate.
Collaboration with other liquid matter researchers is strengthened through links with the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry (the interests of many physical and theoretical chemists encompass the topics covered by our group) and through co-operation with the Liquids Board of the European Physical Society.