Research showcase

The below list of Affiliated Researchers and their research interests is added to regularly so please check for updates. If you are a Materials researcher who would like to be showcased on this site, please find more information here.

Researchers in Engineering

Professor George V. Franks

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Melbourne School of Engineering

Research Group: Ceramics and Minerals Processing Group

E: gvfranks@unimelb.edu.au

W: www.chemeng.unimelb.edu.au/ceramics/

George Franks is Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Melbourne. He completed his undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in 1985, and worked in industry as a process development engineer before completing his PhD in Materials in 1997 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. George's research interests include suspension rheology, ceramic powder processing, materials modelling and minerals processing. He is a member of the Particulate Fluids Processing Centre and the Defence Materials Technology Centre. He has 101 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, 6 book chapters and four patents; his work has been cited more than 2150 times, and his current h-index is 25. George has been awarded over $8.5million in research funding over his academic career. He has been Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society since 2004 and Executive Editor of Advanced Powder Technology between 2009 and 2013. George teaches Process Equipment Design and Minerals Materials and Recycling

Keywords of interest to PhD students: Ceramics processing; Minerals processing; Porous materials; Responsive polymers; Materials and surface modelling; Suspension rheology; Surface chemistry.

Keywords of interest to Partner Organisations: Ceramics for powder processing; Flocculation and tailings management; mineral flotation, non-oxide ceramics, Near net shaping, Reagents for mineral processing; Particle technology.

Dr Daniel Heath

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Melbourne School of Engineering

Research Group: Heath Group: biomaterials and tissue engineering

E: daniel.heath@unimelb.edu.au

W: www.chemeng.unimelb.edu.au/people/staff.php?person_ID=664526

Daniel Heath is a Lecturer with the University of Melbourne's Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department. His research focuses on developing next generation biomaterials to address unmet needs in the health care field. This research is underpinned by expertise in polymer science, organic syntheses, and cell biology. Materials play a critical role in the development of new biomedical devices. The Heath Lab focuses on designing novel biomaterials (naturally derived or synthetic) with controlled interactions with the biological environment. Currently there are three main focuses in the group: Cardiovascular biomaterials, (stem) cell culture and expansion, and (stem) cell heterogeneity.

Keywords of interest to PhD students: Biomaterials; Tissue engineering; Cell/material  interactions; Cell culture; Stem cells.

Keywords of interest to Partner Organisations: Polymer synthesis and characterisation; Biofunctionalisation; Biology/material interactions; Stem cell culture; 3D Scaffold fabrication.

Dr Rackel San Nicolas

Infrastructure Engineering

Melbourne School of Engineering

Research Group: Geopolymer and Minerals Processing Group

E: rackel.san@unimelb.edu.au

W: www.chemeng.unimelb.edu.au/people/staff.php?person_ID=343340

Rackel San Nicolas's main research focus is to study alternative/smart materials for construction. Today, construction materials are the 3rd highest source of CO2 emissions and alternatives are needed. This field of research is vast, from studies on nano-engineered crystals growth of activated recycled products to seaside bridges design. A key research question relates to service life estimation, and a research focus of Rackel's is the development of reliable test methods to assess new materials in the context of their respective implanted environment (highly urban, high-rise, seaside,agricultural). Underlying all of her studies is the idea that microstructural properties can explain any behaviour; the creeping of a beam, the acoustic properties of a cloud cement foam or the rheology of a polybioconcretes. Currently there are three main focuses in the Geopolymer and Minerals Processing Group: durability, bacterial self-healing and high-rise building applications of low-carbon material for construction.

Keywords of interest to PhD students: Construction Materials; Geopolymer; Environment / Material interactions; Hydration and reactivity; Bioconcrete; Rheological.

Keywords of interest to Partner Organisations: Construction materials technology; Geopolymer; Environment / material interaction; Low-carbon material for construction; New generation of construction material; Workability characterisation.

Dr Ranjith R Unnithan

Electrical and Electronic Engineering,

Melbourne School of Engineering

Research Group: Photonics, Electronics and Nanotechnology (PEN)

E: ranjith.rajasekharan@unimelb.edu.au

W: www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person500853

Ranjith R Unnithan is Lecturer of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Melbourne.  His research works to combine both nanophotonics and nanoelectronics on a single chip for making novel Lab-on-chip sensors. Ranjith obtained his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2011, before undertaking a postdoctoral research and project management role in the Electrical Engineering Department at Cambridge for a Samsung project. He is recipient of a number of awards; including CambridgeSens innovation awards both in 2009 and 2010 and two awards from Cambridge University Entrepreneurs in 2011. Ranjith joined the University of Melbourne as a lecturer in 2014.

Keywords of interest to PhD students: Lab-on-chip sensors; Plasmonic biosensors.

Keywords of interest to Partner Organisations: CMOS based Lab-on-chip sensors for diagnosis; Low cost plasmonic biosensors.

Professor Peter Scales

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,

Melbourne School of Engineering

Research Group: Particulate Fluids Processing Centre

E: peterjs@unimelb.edu.au

W: www.pfpc.unimelb.edu.au

Research Interests:

  • Flocculation and coagulation of suspensions
  • Dewatering processes including thickening and filtration
  • Electrokinetics including the experimental determination of high frequency mobility
  • Rheology of concentrated flocculated suspensions
  • Clay swelling and clay suspension rheology
  • Adsorption processes at interfaces
  • Optimisation of process operations for the handling of suspensions of solid particles in water

Keywords of interest to PhD students: Flocculation; Electrokinetics; Filtration; Rheology; Solid particles.

Keywords of interest to Partner Organisations: Separations; Water Purification; Waste water processing; Mining waste reduction; algal biofuels.

Dr Anthony Stickland

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Melbourne School of Engineering

Research Group: The Sludge Group

E: stad@unimelb.edu.au

W: www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person4239

Anthony Stickland's research interests are focused on concentrated particulate suspensions, namely in the flow and deformation or ‘rheology’ of yield stress materials and in solid-liquid separation processes such as filtration, centrifugation, thickening and drying.  This work aligns directly with the aims of the Hallmark Materials Research Initiative, in particular forming a key role in understanding the fundamentals of material behaviour and their processability.  Stickland's research activities cover a broad range of length-scales from understanding the microscopic behaviour of nanometre- and micrometre-sized particles to using material characterisation techniques for measuring the bulk rheological and dewatering properties of suspensions (which in some cases has required the development of new techniques).  These properties can then be used in process models for predicting suspension behaviour, thus linking particle-level properties with macroscopic processing. Stickland also has extensive experience in undertaking pilot- and full-scale testing to validate these models and performing process optimisation.  His research is generally directly applicable, working with and supported by a wide range of industries covering water and wastewater treatment, minerals processing, ceramics, adhesives, paints, food processing (such as starch production), algae, brown coal, pulp and paper, and waste recycling.  The outcomes of this research have led to energy and water efficiencies across multiple areas, or alternatively improvements to product formulations.  This work has been performed in close collaboration with other researchers at The University of Melbourne in Chemical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Mathematics and Chemistry.

Keywords of interest to PhD students: Suspension Rheology; Solid-Liquid Separation; Particle Mechanics; Water and Wastewater Treatment; Minerals Processing.

Keywords of interest to Partner Organisations: Particle Characterisation; Rheological Characterisation; Dewatering Characterisation; Process Modelling and Optimisation; Pilot and Full-Scale Testing.