Soft Matter Physics

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Toothbrush bristles were the first things ever made from nylon.

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. 

Research highlight

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 ›

Pattern formation in draining thin film suspensions

In collaboration between the Soft Matter Group in Leeds, and researchers at Oslo University, a striking transition was discovered between two classes of self-organizing patterns in draining thin-film suspensions. The patterns are surprisingly common in everyday life, and immediately recognizable. This is because draining thin-film suspensions encompass two extremely familiar cases: dirt and food.
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Summary of PhD projects available in the Soft Matter Physics Group

Research within the Soft Matter Group at Leeds is primarily experimental with an equal focus on fundamental and applied aspects. We are interested in a wide range of different soft matter materials including liquid crystals, polymers and biopolymers, glasses, and colloids.

See the full project list ›