Special Seminar – Prof. Tom McLeish – Nov. 4

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering as part of its Departmental Seminar Series announces the upcoming Special Seminar:

  • Topic: Molecular Theory of Polymer Rheology from Chemistry to Processing
  • Speaker: Professor Tom McLeish, Durham University
  • Host: Dr. Savvas Hatzikiriakos
  • Time & Date: 1:00pm-2:00pm; November 4, 2016
  • Location: Chemical and Biological Engineering Building Room 102 101


We apply fundamental principles of molecular rheology learned from well-characterised monodisperse materials to the cases of metallocene-family LCB materials and Low Density Polyethylene [1,2]. Simulations of the polymerisation process itself need to be linked to the rheological computations with complex data structure and physics. Two key advances are the calculation of fluctuation timescales
and the propagation of chain stretch in highly extensional flows. This molecular-physics based methodology now allows the molecular design in silico of the important process quality of “melt strength”.

[1] C. Das et al. (2011) Science, 333, 1871-1874
[2] C. Das, et al. (2014) J. Rheol., 58, 737-757



Prof. Tom McLeish (image source)

Tom McLeish FRS is Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for research at Durham University. His research has contributed to the new field of “soft matter physics” – interdisciplinary work with chemists, chemical engineers and biologists has connected  molecular structure with emergent material or biological properties. He has led large international programmes and collaborations with industrial researchers  developing molecular design tools for new polymeric (plastic) materials. Throughout he has also maintained an interest in public engagement with science, science policy and education including the underlying public  narratives of science. He explores historical, sociological and theological approaches to contribute to a long cultural narrative for science in the recent book Faith and Wisdom in Science (OUP 2014). He is currently Chair of the Royal Society’s Education Committee.