Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
The University of Edinburgh
The University of Cambridge
The University of Oxford

New Soft Materials

Our vision is to establish scientific design principles for the creation of a new generation of soft materials demanded by 21st century technologies. These materials will combine various soft-matter components in novel and carefully controlled combinations, surpassing existing formulations in performance, robustness, and functionality. Many of them will also incorporate biologically active, or indeed living, components.

Our primary objective is to establish scientific design principles that will allow the creation of a new generation of soft materials for the 21st century. The Programme is structured around three design themes (T1-T3) and four classes of soft material (M1-M4) as described below.

Delivery impact through knowledge exchange with a range of industries that rely on soft materials is another key goal. To this end we have set up a dedicated organisation to coordinate such activities - the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership (ECFP). Click here for a summary of ECFP's range of activities since it was established in 2012: ECDF Report

T1. Rheological Control

This theme aims to develop strategies for manipulating the internal structure of soft materials so as to better control their flow behaviour.

T2. Adding Live Ingredients

This theme aims to expand our knowledge of colloidal materials to address the interaction between synthetic and live biological components.

T3. Active Self Assembly

This theme aims to develop the use of self-propelled particles and/or biologically active materials to guide and control the self-assembly of colloidal structures.

M1. Soft Energy Materials

Here we address the design and fabrication of novel soft materials for the more efficient capture, conversion and storage of energy.

M2. Exotic Emulsions

Here we address the design and fabrication of novel emulsions, stabilized either by colloidal particles or proteins, and/or containing active ingredients.

M3. Colloid/polymer mixtures

Here we address design principles for soft materials whose multicomponent character leads to strong interparticle attractions.

M4. Protein aggregates

Here we address the control of aggregation of proteins or protein-like molecules into a variety of structures relevant to the design of new materials.

Edinburgh Complex Fluids

ECFP delivers industry-led research and consultancy enabling companies to benefit from the latest research and to embed design principles in the development of formulated products.