Simon Cox: Research on Foams

Possible PhD/Masters/Summer research projects


My research interests involve the study of foam, an example of soft condensed matter. I am interested in modelling structural and dynamic properties of collections of bubbles to be able to predict their response in various applications.

For example, every time you drink a pint of beer, take a bath, or wash up your dishes, you are hoping that the foam will increase your enjoyment and/or the effectiveness of the process. How does the size of the bubbles affect their lifetime? When you eat bread or chocolate mousse, you want it to be formed from lots of small bubbles rather than one large one (as you sometimes see in a loaf of bread). How do you control the bubble size or get the foam into the mould?

Industrially, metallic foams are made in method similar to the baking of bread. Liquid foams are used in the petroleum industry to push oil out of the porous rocks in which it is found. In the mining industry, metal ores are separated from rock by forcing bubbles through the mixture to form a foam which carries the ore away, a process known as froth flotation.

Modelling Foams

There are therefore many reasons why it is worthwhile to develop an understanding of the behaviour of foams under various conditions. First, one needs to understand their structure, which can be viewed as rather mathematical minimal perimeter problems or physics-inspired 3D geometric calculations. Then, there are a number of dynamic phenomena.
physical processes
In trying to progress to understand how foams respond, I separate the various things that can happen to them into four processes.

Possible PhD/Masters/Summer research projects: If you are interested, get in touch with me. Contact details are on my home page

The information provided on this and other pages by me, Simon Cox, is under my own personal responsibility and not that of Aberystwyth University. Similarly, any opinions expressed are my own and are in no way to be taken as those of A.U.