Postdoctoral Research Associate in Polymers and Colloids
What A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do?
English, Extension 2 Mathematics (i.e. Further Maths), Chemistry, Physics, Music (studied In Australia)
Why did you choose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)?
During my undergraduate studies, I became fascinated with how tiny forces between structures smaller than the width of a human hair add together to cause changes that we can see with our eyes. A career in MSE allows me to harness those forces to make new materials.
What is your research about?
I’m currently part of a team researching how we can harness the interaction between different particles in paints to cause them to spontaneously form functional (e.g. antibacterial) coatings in a single application. I’ve previously looked at how to make slipperier lubricants improve engine efficiency, and have also explored how salt can cause tiny polymer layers to expand and contract.
What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far?
Travelled to France from Australia to bounce neutrons from a nuclear reactor off my polymer samples.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Supervising future generations of materials science researchers or being an instrument scientist at a neutron scattering facility.
What is your favourite material (and why)?
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE / Teflon®): At home fluoropolymers form the basis for many non-stick and self-cleaning surfaces which save me time and energy. Their low reactivity is also super useful for reducing contamination when preparing other materials in the lab.
What advice would you give your 16 year–old self?
Don’t get too hung up on labels. Take the time to find what interests you and own it.
Links to some of Tim’s external websites:
A video about new capabilities in the Martin-Fabiaini Group: