Soft Matter Physics

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Dry sand is only solid while you squeeze it; let go, and it runs between your fingers. Starch molecules behave the same way, so wet corn-starch is liquid, but jams solid if you try to stir it.

Physics & Astronomy

Liquids, colloids, polymers, foams, gels, membranes, biological materials and therefore life itself are just a handful of examples of soft matter.

With many internal degrees of freedom with weak interactions between the structural components, soft matter sensitive to the environment enabling functional materials to be created.

Soft matter can be found throughout industrial and technological applications. Whether it’s packaging, adhesives, detergents, cosmetics, medicines, fuels, rubber tyres, or paints, soft matter physics is central and essential to understanding, designing and optimising these products. 

2014 REF impact

Soft Matter Group helps position physics at Leeds in equal 4th place in the UK for research impact, in the 2014 REF awards.

REF impact case study ›

Research highlight

Direct conversion of rheological compliance measurements into storage and loss moduli

The procedure that has become established, for obtaining frequency-dependent dynamic moduli from non-oscillatory rheometry, is either to fit the experimental data to a particular model (e.g. the generalized Maxwell model), or to use approximate Laplace transformation of the compliance, and subsequently transform from a Laplace to a Fourier description.