Organisational unit: Research Grouping
Soft Matter represents a very large class of materials whose properties have in common the feature that they are easily deformed - they are "soft and squidgy". This softness reflects the fact that the structure, dynamics, and properties of these materials occurs on length scales that are typically 2 to 5 orders of magnitude larger than atomic or molecular dimensions. Understanding how the behaviour of these materials arises from their underlying molecular structure and dynamics is the fundamental scientificn challenge in this field.
Soft Matter is a highly interdisciplinary research area with significant technological importance. Soft materials, such as liquid crystals are widely used in display technology, 30% of the output of the UK chemical industries is estimated to be colloidal in form, while polymers and surfactants are extensively used to control the flow properties of many consumer formulations. Finally all living organisms are "soft" so the science of Soft Matter is key to developing an understanding of physical properties in biology. The Soft Matter and Colloids section in Bristol is one of the largest and most successful soft matter chemistry groupings in the UK with strong basic science research and extensive industrial connections.