Rachel McLaren has had her doctoral research published in the New Journal of Chemistry (RSC Publishing)
Oleophobic composite films based on multi-layer graphitic scaffolding co-authored with Dr Gareth Owen (USW), Dr David Morgan (Cardiff University), Dr Nildo Costa (USW), Dr Christian Laycock (USW) and Dr Michael Warwick (Swansea University) presents a new oleophobic composite material synthesised by utilising plasma-exfoliated multi-layered graphitic (MLG) material as scaffolding.
The composite consisted of a polyelectrolyte/fluorosurfactant complex derived from polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride (PDDA) and sodium perfluorooctanoate (PFO) and was used to prepare free-standing MLG composite films, which functioned as membranes.
The research is based on Rachel’s ESF-funded doctoral work to synthesise a novel composite which is both oil-repellent (oleophobic) and allows water through (hydrophillic).
“There is an increasing demand for materials which provide oil repelling/ water attracting behaviour,” said Rachel.
“My doctoral research focuses on the functionalisation and modification of graphene-based materials and their applications. These materials show real potential for a whole plethora of applications, such as in an oil spill clean-up, which haven’t been fully explored.”
The researchers are now in the process of submitting a follow-up paper which utilises the composite as a coating for membranes for application within oil-spill and aircraft.