Robert Shanks

RMIT University Australia

Research aim: The synthesis of nano-structured materials with enhanced physical, chemical and thermal properties; development of functional nano-materials, and investigation of processes of controlling the self-assembly of nano-structures, with emphasis on thermochemical and thermophysical properties. Contribution to polymer research is preparation of polymer blends and composites with functionality that enhances performance or imparts new functionality, application of advanced characterisation with emphasis on thermal properties: • Composites, blends and surfaces: Nanocomposites with surface treated fillers and fibres, silicates, carbon and mineral nanotubes; dispersed in thermoplastic polyurethanes, polyolefins, elastomers; thermochemistry of nanomaterials with emphasis on thermomechanometry (TM): static, dynamic, modulated force TM, modulated temperature TM, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), modulated temperature DSC (mT-DSC), step-scan and quasi-isothermal DSC and thermogravimetry (TGA). • Network polymer composites with glass or carbon fibre, carbon nanotubes, fumed silica and related nanofillers, and sol-gel generated fillers; using epoxy resin, unsaturated polyester, polyurethanes and polysiloxanes. • Biopolymer and starch materials: Starch, cellulose and biopolymers (poly(lactate), (poly(hydroxybutyrate)), modified cellulose fibre composites; packaging application, food thermochemistry and texture. • Flame retardant materials: Polymer compositions that ceramify on combustion to retard flammability and form an incombustible self-supporting fire barrier. • Thermomechanical analysis with high accuracy and precision, by comparison with universal mechanical testing, using available geometries, multi- and synthetic-frequencies, mastercurves in frequency and time domains, modelling with theory. • Structural investigations using infrared spectroscopy and microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray scattering, optical and electron microscopy.

2chapters authored