Summer Student Project: ISIS-10

Development of an in-situ calorimeter for neutron spectroscopy

The glass transition is a reversible transition that occurs in amorphous materials, whereby a material goes from a hard and brittle state to a rubbery or highly viscous state, as the temperature is increased. This is typically probed through a sudden change in the heat capacity. The project involves the development of equipment to measure the glass transition temperature in-situ, based on an initial prototype.

The glass transition is a reversible transition that occurs in amorphous materials, whereby a material goes from a hard and brittle state to a rubbery or highly viscous state, as the temperature is increased. This is typically probed through a sudden change in the heat capacity. Common materials which show such behaviour include polymers like polypropylene and rubber. Changes in the material properties are observed over this transition and are not fully understood. Neutron spectroscopy can be used to understand the dynamics of atoms as materials cross this transition and as such it is beneficial to perform simultaneous measurements of the heat capacity and the neutron response.

The project involves the development of equipment to measure the glass transition temperature in-situ, based on an initial prototype. The student will be testing the equipment with different glassy materials and continue with its development. This will be a unique capability as it is the first time such equipment has been built.  

Benefits to the student: 

During this project the student will learn about amorphous materials and their properties, and will be able to characterise them using differential scanning calorimetry and neutron spectroscopy. The project will involve hands-on laboratory work and measurements, as well as data analysis and computation. The student is expected to will submit a report at the conclusion of the project, with the potential of leading to a peer-reviewed publication. The student will have the opportunity to work at a world-leading multi-national science facility and be exposed to a number of exciting science and technical projects.

Requirements: 

Student in science or engineering degree with some experience with laboratory work. Experience scripting in computing (eg. Python) would be a plus but not essential.

Supervisor: Vicky Garcia Sakai (victoria.garcia-sakai@stfc.ac.uk)

You might particularly like this if you are interested in any of these: natural sciences or engineering with some experience in laboratory work.

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