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Catherine is a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, appointed in late October 2014. Prior to this she was an ARC Future Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia. She is a physical chemist with expertise in colloid and surface chemistry. She uses nanomaterials to modify the chemistry of drop and bubble surfaces. This strategy enables her to control the structure, stability and flow of soft materials. Her findings have been applied in food and pharmaceutical products and in drilling fluids.
I am interested in the edges (surfaces and interfaces) that control the properties of materials like paints, sunscreens, lubricants and dairy foods. All these materials are colloids. They are made of drops, bubbles and particles dispersed in a liquid. The drops, bubbles and particles are nanometres to micrometres in size.
I investigate how the chemical properties of drop (bubble or particle) surfaces control how colloidal materials flow and behave. A focus of my work is on using nanomaterials to modify the drop and bubble surface chemistry. This strategy enables me to tune the structure, stability and flow of soft materials used in food, pharmaceutical and agricultural products.
I use microscopy and rheology tools to do my research. I use these techniques to probe inside colloidal materials and investigate their physical and chemical properties.
Resource Development and Management, Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Chemical Science (030000): Colloid and Surface Chemistry (030603): Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural (030600)
Colloid and Surface Science
Project Title: MacDiarmid Scholarship - Whitby - Ben Westberry
Date Range: 2018 - 2021
Funding Body: Victoria University of Wellington
123.104 - Chemistry for Biological Systems - first year chemistry laboratory and workshop supervision (40 contact hours)
123.105 - Chemistry and the Physical World - first year thermodynamics and transition metal complexes lectures and first year chemistry laboratory supervision (55 contact hours)
123.201 - Chemical Energetics - second year phase diagram and electrochemistry lectures and supervising second year physical chemistry laboratory (52 contact hours)
123.204 - Chemicaland Biochemical Analysis - second year gravimetry, extractions and chromatography lectures (16 contact hours)
123.271 - Molecules to Materials - second year soft matter lectures (8 contact hours)
123.311 - Advanced Physical and Analytical Chemistry - third year heterogeneous catalysis lectures (12 contact hours)
123.712-H - Advanced Nanoscience and Physical Chemistry - Experimental Methods in Surface Chemistry (4 contact hours)
I was fortunate to have some fantastic PhD supervisors and my style of graduate supervision is based on these experiences and interactions. I like to meet frequently with my students discuss how their research project is going and to provide support and guidance. I also meet with my students regularly as part of the wider research group I lead with my colleague Bill Williams. Our students benefit from the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge during group meetings and help each other with their projects. They also gain experience in problem-solving and decision-making in a team environment. I also encourage my students to get involved in activities that will advance their scientific careers, including participating in seminars, workshops and conferences related to their interests. Several of my former students (from Massey and the universities where I worked previously) are now working as scientific researchers in industry and at universities.