#MondayMaterials Episode 32 – Jack Saunders
Meet the Department 14th December 2017
We’ve got a brand new #MondayMaterials for you! Jack Saunders is a Materials Chemistry PhD student studying the effect of polymers on the corrosion resistance of emulsion paints. Find out what’s got him excited about this area of research.
Hi Jack! Thanks so much for chatting to us. First things first, can you describe your research, for the layman, in 10 sentences or less?
Emulsion paints are made of water, polymers and additives. They are much more environmentally friendly than solvent-borne paints, which is especially important for DIY paints. However, they are not as well understood.
My project relates to understanding the impact and effect different polymers can have on the corrosion resistance of emulsion paints. My job is to synthesise these polymers in new and exciting ways to give increased protection against corrosion.
How can your research benefit the public?
As well as there being a direct benefit of using paints with increased corrosion resistance on your garden fence etc., there is also an environmental impact. Having more effective and better-understood emulsion paints means they can replace solvent-borne paints in more and more applications. This will reduce the VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions and reduce the negative environmental impact of paints.
How did you first become interested in your research area?
My interest in polymer chemistry stems from a year in industry that I completed as part of my undergraduate degree. From then, I researched different areas of polymer chemistry and found that the synthesis of polymers via controlled radical polymerisation (CRP) methods is an incredibly interesting, active and exciting area of research.
My high school teacher was instrumental in my choice of science and my time at university and in industry just fuelled my thirst for knowledge.
Who or what first inspired your interest in science?
I was always inquisitive as a student and science matched my ambition to find out more about the world and to understand it as well. My high school teacher was instrumental in my choice of science and my time at university and in industry just fuelled my thirst for knowledge.
Can you tell us a little about your other interests?
I am a big fan of science literature and sci-fi books. Jim Al-Khalili is a great educational author who writes about very interesting topics, while no one is a better storyteller than Douglas Adams, in my opinion.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I mostly enjoy reading, spending time with my fiancée and watching the football, although as a Newcastle fan I usually get very little enjoyment from watching my team play!
How does being based here in Manchester help your work and research?
Manchester is a fantastic institution first and foremost. I have chosen to spend almost eight years of my life being educated here and that is primarily due to the fantastic quality of teaching, great resources and state-of-the-art analytical techniques on offer.