Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology Director
Prof Ben Whiteside
Director, Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology
Ben currently leads the RKT Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology based at the University of Bradford which provides a key resource for industry working to bring micro and nano scale components to market, alongside internationally recognised pioneering academic research in the field.
Key areas of research interest:
- Surface structuring of polymeric devices using feature replication
- Material-specific behaviour
- Crystallisation properties and post processes including plasma treatment or embossing
- Product property control using advanced process control and novel materials and material combinations to tailor internal morphology
- Optical characterisation methods for polymer processes including high speed optical and thermal imaging systems
Current research areas include:
- Moulding of nano-precision optics using a range of technologies
- Characterisation of polymers and nano-composites/suspensions in high strain rate environments
- High speed process measurement using internet enabled technologies
- Novel sensor development. Utilising a range of emerging technologies including piezoelectric ultrasonic sensors, IR sensors etc.
- Software development to enable high speed data acquisition/archiving and process characterisation.
- Studies of the effect of processing parameters on the geometric, morphological and mechanical properties of micromoulded products. Measurement techniques include AFM, nano indenting optical profilometry and nano-DMA.
- High speed optical and thermal imaging of micromoulding flows
- Investigations of nano-composite properties and nano-particulate dispersion in polymers
- Development of novel machine vision techniques for 100% product inspection in micromoulding processes. Techniques include Extended Depth of Field and white light interferometry
More about Ben here >>
Dr Cristina Tuinea-Bobe
Research and Knowledge Transfer Business Development Manager
Cristina has two multi-disciplinary PhDs: one in biomedical engineering and one in semiconductors' electronics. She is now based at the University of Bradford in the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics working as Research & Knowledge Transfer Business Development Manager. Her role is to facilitate academics interaction with government and industrial funding bodies, resulting in high quality proposals and projects. Cristina is promoting our mission to provide superior quality education with a high impact on industry, and on the country's economy, through our ‘make a difference’ alumni cohort.
Research and Areas of Expertise:
- Development of bio-medical devices via injection moulding
- Surface characterisation of different materials and components using: SEM, AFM, White Light Interferometry, Confocal Microscopy
- Surface chemistry modification via plasma treatment or casting on different surfaces
- Surface structuring of polymers via injection moulding or photolithographic methods
- Material properties modification which are affected by different process parameters
- Stretchable conductors
- Thin film deposition onto polymers and elastomers
- Ultrasound monitoring of injection process
More about Cristina here>>
Professor Phil Coates
Professor of Polymer Engineering
My major research (around £50million total cash grants and contracts) is in-process measurements on polymers, real time computer control, analysis and computer modelling of polymer processing. I am Professor of Polymer Engineering at the University of Bradford, UK and Director of the internationally recognised Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in Polymer Science and Technology, with some 30 researchers. I have published extensively - over 300 papers, in scientific journals and international conferences, and have co-authored 9 books, and edited 11 books. I hold 12 patents. My research is internationally recognised, with many keynote addresses and worldwide collaborations (particularly Europe, N America, China, Australia and Japan), and I have developed the UK centre for in-process measurements. Main themes are: (i) analysis/modelling of polymer processing mechanics, involving experimental characterisations of the solid and fluid phase rheology of polymers, with novel rheo-optical, ultrasound techniques and in-process spectroscopy; (ii) processing machinery design and control of processing, especially in the fields of injection moulding, extrusion and reactive processing - encompassing determination of process dynamic responses to the deconvolution of machine and raw material variables for real time closed loop process control; (iii) computer modelling of solid and melt phase processing - used in process design and control (with a licensed polymer orientation process), and for insight into deformation and flow mechanisms - my computer modelling research centre adjoins the experimental laboratory. I have strategically linked all UK academics in cooperative research, as leader or board member: Director of the Polymer IRC, leader of EPSRC major collaborative programme on Enhanced Polymer Processing (£2.7m, 3 Universities and 10 companies), DTI In-process measurements programme (£.25m, 40 companies) and EPSRC Networks for Computer Modelling of Polymer Processing (11 UK Universities and 6 organisations) and (b) In Process Measurements which links 14 UK Universities and a range of organisations); Board member of EPSRC major collaborative programmes on Microscale flows (2.5m, 6 Universities and 6 companies), Faraday Plastics (£2.2m, 4 University groups and industry), and director of MeDe Innovation, the £5.7m EPSRC Centre of Innovative Manufacturing in Medical Devices, founded in 2013 across Leeds, Bradford, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield Universities. I lead the EPSRC Science Bridges China programme (£1.8m, with ~10m levered funding in China).
More about Phoil here >>
Dr Max Babenko
Dr Maksims Babenko is a Civil and Structural Engineering graduate (University of Bradford). He has completed summer internship in the Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology where he has conducted a high shear strain rate rheometry for a range of polymers, was responsible for light/energy collection device manufacturing and worked on an industrial collaboration project with Network Medical Products ltd. In 2015 he has competed his PhD in Heat Transfer at the Cavity-Polymer Interface in Microinjection Moulding. In 2016 completed a Postdoctoral research project which was in collaboration with one of the largest chemical companies to benchmark candidate polymer materials in terms of their suitability for polymer microneedles manufacturing.
Currently working under supervision of Professor Tim Gough and Professor Ben Whiteside on EPSRC funded Postdoctoral project (EP/P005403/1) - Flow induced crystallisation in polymers: from molecules to processing.
Main research projects include:
a. Mouldling of Micro and Nano-scale components using a range of technologies
b. Ultrasound micro-injection moulding
c. Characterisation of polymer in high strain rate environments
d. High speed thermal imaging of micromoulding flows
e. Surface characterisation using, SEM, WLI (white light interferometry), Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy
f. Microneedles manufacturing and characterisation
More about Max here >>
Dr Elaine Brown
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical & Process Engineering
Dr Elaine Brown is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, with a first degree in Manufacturing Systems with Mechanical Engineering (Bradford) and a PhD in Ultrasonic Monitoring of Polymer Melt Extrusion (Bradford). She has worked in the IRC Laboratories at Bradford for over 20 years, initially as a Research Engineer and now as a University Academic. Her research on in-process measurements has focused on applying ultrasound to measure melt and/or process properties in-line during extrusion, injection moulding and micromoulding, and on methods of measuring polymer melt temperature. More recently her research interests have grown to include the applications of high power ultrasound in polymer melt and pharmaceutical processing. She acts as coordinator for ultrasound techniques within the Centres for Advanced Materials, Micro and Nanotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering Science.
Ultrasonic technology provides a robust, adaptable and non-invasive in-process measurement that can be widely applied. Work at Bradford encompasses investigations into extrusion, micromoulding, injection moulding, including GAIM/WAIM, and processes allied to rotational moulding. Ultrasound is a mechanical wave; changes in the velocity, attenuation and reflection coefficients of the high frequency waves are related to the state and conditions of the materials through which they propagate.
More about Elaine here >>
Dr Fin Caton-Rose
Senior Lecturer in Polymer Engineering
Graduated in Engineering for Design and Manufacture (BEng) at Hull University in 1992 before starting work on the design, build and testing of a ceramic water pump for the Water Hydraulics Research Group at the same University. In 1995 Dr Caton-Rose registered for an industrially sponsored PhD into the computer modelling of large strain deformation for geogrid applications. Dr Caton-Rose graduated in January 2000, having joined the Polymer Engineering research group as a research member of staff the previous September.
Dr Caton-Rose became a Research Investment Lecturer in 2003 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Polymer Engineering in 2006. Dr Caton-Rose is the Manager of the Solid Phase Polymer Processing Group and Manager of the Computer Modelling Research Centre within the Polymer IRC. In 2013 he became Head of Product Design, in the School of Engineering, Design and Technology, and in 2014 was appointed Head of Design in the newly formed School of Media, Design and Technology until November 2015. He is a member of the Centre of Advanced Materials Engineering and Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology.
Dr Caton-Rose has taught across the Design and Engineering disciplines with specific interests in computer aided design (both traditional and freeform), finite element analysis, digital prototyping and product design studio projects. His current research activities include fibre orientation and fibre breakage studies during the injection moulding of composite materials (both computational and experimental), advanced process visualisation, solid phase deformation, biocompatitble and bioresorbable polymers, shape memory polymers, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping.
More about Fin here >>
Prof Tim Gough
Professor in Fluid Mechanics
Professor Tim Gough was a student at the University of Surrey where he was awarded a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering in 1991 and a PhD on the development of turbulent boundary layers and wakes in 1996.
In 1997 he moved to the University of Bradford as a postdoctoral research engineer investigating hydrocyclones for separations of yeast from beer and cider and oil/water. After some time in industry as a contracting engineer developing cyclones for the offshore oil industry he returned to Bradford to join the IRC in Polymer Engineering in 2000 working with many industrial groups and universities to develop novel materials and processes for a wide range of applications.
Research interests include: polymeric materials and nanocomposites, reactive extrusion, pharmaceutical formulations, hydrogels, crystallisation, fluid mechanics and rheology, polymeric battery electrolytes and the applications of computer-based instrumentation to a broad range of scientific problems.
He was appointed as a lecturer in 2006, senior lecturer in 2011, reader in 2015 and professor in 2017. He also manages the IRC materials characterisation laboratories.
He is currently the Head of Department for Mechanical and Automotive Engineering.
More about Tim here >>
Dr Michael Hebda
Dr Michael Hebda began as Lecturer in Computer Aided Engineering at the University of Bradford in November 2020, this was achieved shortly after finnishing his PhD in Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) early in 2020. He is very research active and continues to work on the fundamentals of FFF and other areas of Additive Manufacturing alongside lecturing the Mechanical Engineering cohort in the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics. He is also involved in running the Additive Manufacturing and MicroCT equipment in the Polymer IRC.
Contact detailsEmail: M.Hebda@student.bradford.ac.uk
Dr Maria Katsikogianni
Lecturer in Biomaterials
Dr Maria Katsikogianni is a Lecturer in Biomaterials Chemistry since September 2016. Her research profile lies at the interface of biomaterial science, life sciences and engineering. She is particularly interested in the biomimetic design of multifunctional materials for relevant clinical applications, e.g. in the context of fabricating and testing non-fouling/antimicrobial materials to prevent medical device associated bone infections, through the incorporation of antimicrobial agents and/or the surface patterning at the nanoscale.
Maria joined the University of Bradford in 2014 as a Research and Knowledge Transfer Officer in the Centre of Advanced Material Engineering, following her post-doctoral training within WELMEC, the centre of excellence in Medical Engineering at the University of Leeds. Prior to joining the University of Leeds, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Surface Engineering Group, University College Dublin.
She completed her undergraduate studies in Chemistry (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and gained her PhD in Biomedical Engineering, under the supervision of Professor Yannis Missirlis (University of Patras, Greece), where she investigated the effect of material surface chemistry, morphology and flow conditions on bacterial adhesion.
During her posts in Greece and Ireland, Maria successfully co-wrote two funding applications towards the “Development of a multidisciplinary scientific network for the investigation and application of biomaterials”, under an INTERREG IIIA Greece-Italy programme, and the “Application of antimicrobial natural product coatings on consumer products and medical packaging,” under an Enterprise Ireland commercialization fund, respectively.
In the UK, Maria was shortlisted for a Sir Henry Dale Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Fellowship and was successful in securing funding from MeDe Innovation, in collaboration with Professor David Williams, Cardiff University, towards “The manufacture of medical device surfaces that are resistant to microbial colonisation”.
Maria has authored 20 research papers and 3 book chapters (h-index: 10) along with a patent application (GB20120015171, W02014030005 A1)
More about Maria here >>
Prof Adrian Kelly
Professor of Polymer Engineering
Pharmaceutical polymer engineering is one the main focuses of Adrian's current research activities, particularly twin screw extrusion of pharmaceutical formulations (solid dispersions and solutions) and the application of process monitoring techniques (PAT).
Adrian has experience of processing a wide variety of polymeric materials, including materials formulation research with composites, nanocomposites and additives. In addition to conventional commodity and engineering polymers, he has expertise in recycled polymers, bio-based polymers and biodegradable polymer systems. Adrian has worked closely with a large number of companies across the polymer, additive, machinery and instrumentation sectors.
More about Adrian here >>
Dr Davide Nocita
Post-doctoral Research Assistant
Dr Davide Nocita achieved his MSc in Materials Engineering (Distinction) at the University of Modena in 2011. He worked initially as a researcher for the National Research Council of Italy - Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials – where he started to develop his skills and knowledge in the field of polymer science and technology.
In Dec 2017, he achieved his European Doctoral Degree (International PhD) in Chemistry and Engineering of Materials and Structures, from the University of Messina, spending over a year as a visiting PhD student at Loughborough University.
He has been a Post-doctoral Research Associate at Loughborough University, working on a research and development project funded by Innovate UK and in collaboration with Interface Polymers Ltd.
From July 2019 he is a Post-doctoral Research Assistant at the Polymer IRC at the University of Bradford.
Main areas of research interest and expertise:
- Polymer blends, compounds and additives: solid state and melt properties, miscibility and compatibilisation strategies, interface properties, shear induced mixing and de-mixing phenomena, plasticization and anti-plasticization, di-block copolymers and amphiphiles.
- Polymer processing: thin films precision extrusion, blown film extrusion, film coating processes, melt spinning of polymer fibres, compression moulding.
- Surface analyses: compositional analysis (XPS, ATR-FTIR), water contact angle, Surface free energy, adhesive properties.
- Bio-materials and drug-delivery systems: bio-absorbable aliphatic polyester blends for implantable orthopaedic devices, UHMWPE nanocomposites for prosthetic applications, drug-release rate and biocompatibility.
Contact detailsEmail: D.Nocita@bradford.ac.uk
Dr Tehmeena Israr Raja
Title: A study of the relationship between surface topology and functional characteristics for injection moulded thermoplastic components.
Short description: This project focuses on the creation of 'smart surfaces', which aid in prevention of infection transmission. The core of this project focuses on to use a one step process, micro-injection molding of polymers, in order to create optimised topology on a nano scale; optimisations allow for inhibition of bacterial proliferation, and deter initial bacterial adhesion. Novel techniques for testing and characterisation are being developed in order to incorporate all factors of in-vivo infection outbreak; the self cleaning surfaces are hopefully to be manufactured with ease, and the intended application of said surfaces, is to be used for a large range of healthcare based consumer products.
Contact detailsEmail: T.Raja@bradford.ac.uk
Dr Farshid Sefat
Lecturer in Cell/Tissue Engineering
Dr Farshid Sefat is Assistant Professor in Biomedical and Electronic Engineering Department at the University of Bradford (UK) and previously was head of Biomedical Engineering Department at King Faisal University (Saudi Arabia) and also a Visiting Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey, USA). He completed his post doctorate research assistant at University of Sheffield (UK) in the area of cornea tissue engineering. He received his Ph.D. (2011) and BEng. (2005) degrees from University of Bradford (UK) both in Biomedical Engineering mainly focus on bone cell engineering. He also obtained his MSc. (2006) in Cell and Tissue Engineering from Keele University (UK).
His research is based on developing biomaterials to control cellular behaviour with particular emphasis in developing engineered materials for various tissue engineering applications. He is an author on >100 peer-reviewed journal articles, editorials and review papers and >30 book chapters/edited books. He is on the editorial boards and reviewer of >30 numerous journals including Materials Today, Acta Biomaterialia, IEEE, Bone, MDPI, Journal of Orthopaedics & Rheumatology, Materials Science and Engineering C, Journal of Biomechanics and many more.
More about Farshid here >>
Dr Paul Spencer
Research and Knowledge Transfer Development Officer
Dr Paul Spencer joined the IRC Polymer Engineering Laboratories in 2005, having previously worked in the Mechanics of Materials Group at Leicester University. His background is in Computational Solid State Physics, gaining his PhD from Loughborough University. Recently he has been working on a variety of academic and industrially-led research projects involving experimental and Finite Element investigations of polymeric materials at large deformations.
- Finite Element Analysis: Abaqus user-defined materials, contact problems, non-linear analysis, large deformations, Python scripting.
- Mechanics of solid polymers: Oriented polymers, shape memory polymers, constitutive modelling.
- Polymer composites: Multi-phase systems, and numerical modelling of nano-reinforced polymer composites.
- Materials modelling techniques: Continuum mechanics, molecular models, multi-scale schemes, and Monte Carlo simulation.
- Solid phase polymer processing: Experimental, numerical and theoretical analysis of processes such as die-drawing.
- Polymer characterisation: Mechanical stress/strain/rate characterisation, image-based measurement and analysis of deformation behaviour at large strains.
More about Paul here >>
Professor John Sweeney
Professor of Polymer Mechanics
On graduating with a BA (Hons) in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Keele in 1974, began working at the then British Ceramic Research Association on the mechanical properties of refractory ceramics. This work led on to an interest in the mechanics of solids and to the award of a PhD in 1981. I then took up a postdoctoral position at the University of California at Berkeley to model solid/liquid separation. This was followed by a further postdoctoral position at the University of Leeds in Prof I M Ward's Polymer Physics group, which was later to form part of the IRC in Polymer Science and Technology. I joined the then Department of Mechanical Engineering at Bradford in 1995 as lecturer, continuing to research within the IRC.
At Bradford I have been Principal Investigator on EPSRC funded projects in the areas of polymer constitutive equations, polymer nanocomposites and on surface interactions during polymer processing. Other awards include a European Commission funded project on polymer packaging and three Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Additionally, there have been a number of commercial contracts with local and international companies.
My research interests are the mechanical behaviour of polymers, including large deformations, deformation processing, interfacial (friction and heat transfer) effects, and fracture. Much of the work involves mathematical modelling using the finite element method. I have developed expertise in incorporating material models into commercial finite element code via user-defined subroutines. Any polymer-oriented problems that would benefit from a modelling, experimental or combined approach are of interest. Most most recent work has covered shape memory polymers and surface interactions in polymer processing. I maintain interests that range from the fundamentals of polymer deformation to technology applied in industry.
I am co-author of two text books:
"An introduction to the mechanical behaviour of solid polymers" I M Ward and J Sweeney, Wiley, 2004.
"Mechanical behaviour of solid polymers" I M Ward and J Sweeney, Wiley, 2013.
These are recommended texts for polymer engineering courses at a number of institutions, for example MIT and the University of Illinois. To date their combined total number of Google Scholar citations is approximately 1,400.
More about John here >>
Dr Pete Twigg
Reader in Medical Engineering
Pete Twigg heads the Medical and Healthcare Technology programme team at Bradford and is deeply involved with the development of healthcare science and technology education programmes at a national level. His research interests lie in the application of mechanical analysis to biological systems, ranging from organic molecules and cells to prosthetics and human movement.
The biomaterials aspects of this work are largely conducted in the Bradford University Medical and Polymer Engineering Research (BUMPER) characterisation laboratory, which he heads. This facility has an atomic force microscopy suite with Dimension 3100 and MultiMode microscopes, as well as nanoindentation and PicoForce mechanical characterisation. The laboratory is a multi-user facility with a host of characterisation equipment and also houses a category 2 biological containment room. Current projects include cartilage characterisation and the development of cartilage substitutes, as well as cell adhesion studies.
Orthopaedics and prosthetics mechanics have been a research interest for some time, including joint replacement, fracture fixation, orthotics and lower limb prosthetics. Techniques vary from friction and wear simulation and testing, through pseudo-static and dynamic mechanical testing, to 3D kinetic analysis. The kinematic and kinetic work is largely done using an 8 camera Vicon motion capture system, which has also been applied to pre and post-operative clinical subjects and investigation of the role of vision in negotiating obstacles, among other studies. Physiological measurement, such as electromyography, has also been linked to some kinetic studies, such as the investigation of fatigue effects.
More about Pete here >>
Dr Mansour Youseffi
Reader in Biomaterials
Dr Mansour Youseffi is Reader in Biomaterials within the School of Engineering lecturing in the following modules as the module leader: Functional Anatomy and Human Physiological Measurements; Rehabilitation Engineering; Biomaterials with Implant Design and Technology; Design Build and Test.
He has been an active member of the Academic Staff in research and development at the University of Bradford (UOB) since January 1992 in several areas including: Electronics, Mechanical, Physical, Chemical and Corrosion Properties of Engineering Materials/Biomaterials; Biotribology; Cell and Tissue Engineering; Bone and Muscle Disorders as well as Design and Manufacturing of Medical Electronic Devices such as ECG, Pacemaker and Heart Rate Monitors.
These research activities have led to an research income of ~740k, 19 PhD Graduates, publication of 53 Journal Papers, 4 Books (as the main author), 1 Patent, 6 Book Chapters, 11 Keynote Invited Lectures, more than 200 Conference Papers including Posters/Abstracts as well as support and funding by various sources. He currently supervises 3 PhD students and one post-doctoral Research Assistant and expecting two other PhD students.
More about Mansour here >>