We study the structure and interactions in soft materials at nano, micro and macroscopic length scales and correlate them to flow behaviour, mechanical properties, stability and stimuli response. Research conducted in our group is primarily experimental and supported by theory and modelling.
Below are the research directions which we are currently pursuing:
Mechanically tunable suspensions of 2D colloids and their applications
Graphene is a well known 2D nanomaterial, which microscopically exists as a sheet with lateral dimensions of microns and thickness in nanometers. In the last decade, several interesting properties of 2D colloids have been reported. The work in the group aims to prepare 3D architecture of graphene and their derivatives by utilizing polymers and/or electrolytes. Utilizing rheological characterization, we also study how mechanical properties can be tuned by varying the parameters of colloid concentration and nature of dispersing medium.
Colloids in Liquid Crystals -Structure and Influence of External Fields
Liquid crystals are anisotropic fluids with molecules arranged in a particular fashion; examples include nematic, semectic, hexagonal liquid crystals. Including colloidal particles leads to the self-assembly of the particles into sheets, rows etc. The work in the group aims to understands the conditions under which the particle self-assembly occurs and their influence on the overall flow properties.
Concentrated Mineral Slurries
Suspensions or slurries with high particle concentration have numerous applications. In collaboration with faculty from materials science, we are understanding mineral slurries of coal, fly ash, bauxite etc.
Many day-to-day consumer products such as creams are either foams or emulsions. A significant challenge is to stabilize these systems as they phase separate over time.
The work in the group aims to understand high internal phase emulsions (where drop phase is greater than 50%) in the presence of proteins as stabilizers.
Tough Hydrogels for biomedical applications**
In this project, we endeavor to probe the effect of nanoparticle size, concentration, and shape on the mechanical properties of hydrogels. The goal of the project is develop hydrogels that can be used for biomedical applications. Currently efforts are directed towards generating a platform that can provide a 3-D environment to develop a cancer tumor model and study the effect of anti-cancer drugs on it.