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DiStruc Newsletter - Issue 2, 2016  


Welcome to the second issue of the DiStruc Newsletter!

The DiStruc fellows have been making excellent progress since our last Newsletter. First results are being written up, submitted for publication, and being published as we speak. Moreover, we had a highly successful meeting in Oxford, which included a very popular outreach event. Please read for details of past and future activities! 
Dirk Aarts
DiStruc Co-ordinator, University of Oxford


Playing Colloidal Mikado Workshops

The Playing Colloidal Mikado workshop series brings together experimentalists and theoreticians working in the field of Soft Matter. The aim of these workshops is to discuss current developments and advances in the chemistry and physics of non-spherical colloidal particles with a focus on colloidal rods. 
The 4th workshop of the series is scheduled for 16-17 November 2016 in Bordeaux. It will be organised by the DiStruc fellows. The fellows are charged with selecting the speakers, making the programme and managing all the financial and organisational aspects. Everything is going swimmingly so far and the programme will be announced soon. Invited speakers include
Zvonimir Dogic, Jacques Prost and many more. Stay tuned!

The 5th Playing Colloidal Mikado workshop will take place in Heraklion, Greece in the summer of 2017 (dates to be finalised). It will be a joint venture with the Colldense ITN.  
More info

Bordeaux, November 2016  

The next DiStruc meeting will take place in Bordeaux on 14-18 November 2016 and it will be hosted by CNRS-CRPP. It will include the progress meeting, the Mid-Term Review meeting, the 4th Playing Colloidal Mikado workshop and a day of industrial training at the premises of CANOE-ADERA. We are all working full steam ahead and we look forward to seeing some of you there! 
More info

Hot off the press

Chris Lang, based in Forschungszentrum Jülich published the first paper of DiStruc, entitled 'The Connection between Biaxial Orientation and Shear Thinning for Quasi-Ideal Rods'. 
In our latest work, we investigated the flow of rod like virus particles in a so-called shear-cell using neutron scattering, see the figure.
Using this technique, we found that the viscosity reduces more strongly the faster the inner cylinder of the cell rotates. This is due to the orientation of rods with the flow direction.
Additionally, we observed that the ordering of the rods depends on the direction, a phenomenon called biaxiality.
With these experiments at hand, we showed that common theoretical descriptions of this behavior were not giving correct results and we were able to identify the reasons behind this observation.
This will enable us to better describe the flow of complex fluids, think for example food and health care products, and to further improve the theory.

Christian Lang, Joachim Kohlbrecher, Lionel Porcar and Minne Paul Lettinga, Polymers 2016.
More publications are under way- we will keep you posted! 
Read more

Oxford, July 2016

The third meeting among the beneficiaries was held in Oxford, UK, 11-15 July 2016. The meeting took place at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford. The first two days were spent presenting our progress and we held the Supervisory Board meeting, with two newly elected representatives of the fellows. During the Progress meeting all the fellows presented their projects, progress and any arising issues with all the members of the network. Connections between the individual projects became more apparent and new opportunities for collaborations were identified. The following three days were dedicated to training: Eric Grelet (CNRS) and Helen Gleeson (University of Leeds) gave high-class scientific lectures, whereas David Manolopoulos FRS (University of Oxford, Deputy Editor, Journal of Chemical Physics), Marcin Otto (Conyar BV) and Mark Mann (Oxford University Innovation) kick-started the transferable skills training with lectures on ‘How to write a scientific paper’, ‘Entrepreneurship’ and the path 'From research to business' respectively. The training was completed with two lectures by Nia Knibbs Vaughan, Wolfram Research Ltd, on their most successful software package, Mathematica, useful for the DiStruc fellows in many ways ranging from solving differential equations to image analysis. 
More info

Educational Master Classes

Nine of the DiStruc fellows prepared and delivered a Master Class on a topic related to their research project. Each fellow gave a 50 minutes lecture and received constructive feedback from all the fellows and supervisors who were present. 
We consider Master Classes as a way of learning by teaching, and an excellent opportunity for the fellows to develop their teaching skills, and their ability to transfer knowledge to colleagues working in related fields. 
The six remaining Master Classes will take place during the DiStruc meeting in Heraklion, in 2017. 

Public Engagement

Squishy Soft Science: Make your own fibres, explore the micro-world, walk on custard and more!  

On Saturday 9th July 2016, DiStruc organised ‘Squishy Soft Science’, a family event addressed mainly to children aged 7-14. 'Squishy Soft Science' took place at the premises of Christ Church, one of the famous colleges of Oxford. The DiStruc fellows selected, designed and presented the nine demonstrations of the event. More than 100 little ‘scientists in the making’ attended the event, which was declared highly successful with 200 visitors overall.

Missed it? Check our YouTube channel for the time-lapse video of the event or visit our website for more pictures and the descriptions of the presentations. 
Find out more about Squishy Soft Science

Jülich Open Day

Four of the fellows, Chris, Run, Blandine and Inna participated in the Open Day organised by the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) on the 5th of June 2016. Hundreds of visitors of all ages explored the FZJ campus, got a taste of research, and talked to the scientists. The DiStruc stand was entitled "Solid, liquid or both? Understanding colloids" and included looking at milk fat particles under the microscope, an introduction to the unexpected properties of ketchup and liquid crystal birefringent properties and applications. 
Read more

About DiStruc

DiStruc (Directed Structure at the mesoscale) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network funded by the EU. The goals of DiStruc are three-fold: (i) scientifically, to understand and direct structure formation in dispersions of elongated colloidal particles by internal and external means; (ii) practically, to exploit this knowledge for rational product development of fast moving consumer goods and high-performance fibres; (iii) to train the next generation of European researchers at the highest level with a multidisciplinary academic and industrial skill set. DiStruc runs for four years (2015-2018), and brings together partners from 6 different European countries including universities, research institutions and industries.

Dates for your diary

  • 14-18 November - DiStruc Meeting, Bordeaux, France
  • 15 November - Mid-term Review Meeting
  • 16-17 November - 4th Playing Colloidal Mikado workshop, Bordeaux, France
  • summer 2017 - 5th Playing Colloidal Mikado workshop

In the next Issue:

  • News from our Fellows
  • Hot off the press
  • 5th Playing Colloidal Mikado Workshop: Dates, invited speakers and more information
  • Update on the Mid-Term Review meeting
This issue was edited by Dirk Aarts, Chris Lang & Irini Hatzimichali 
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 641839.
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