Soft Matter Physics

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The carpet that keeps your feet from freezing on cold winter mornings is probably made from nylon. Sometimes carpets are treated with polytetrafluoroethylene to make them stain resistant.

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 ›

Shear Banding in Polymer Solutions?

Do polymer solutions "shear band" or not? Peter Olmsted and James Adams have shown that current theories are consistent with interpretations of both shear banding (unstable flow) or stable flow. However, which results one finds depends on the rheometer used! The message is that one needs to be very careful when interpreting experiments on the non-linear rheology of entangled polymeric fluids!

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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 ›