Dr Roman Boulatov

PhD

Photographic portrait of Roman Boulatov

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Job title: Reader
Division: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Liverpool
Tags: Fellowship: Previous Fellow, Researcher, University of Liverpool
Related theme: Physical Sciences

Biography

I obtained a PhD from Stanford in 2002 (with J. P. Collman) for work on metalloporphyrins as oxygen reduction electrocatalysts, and a Postdoctorate at Harvard with G. Whitesides working on unconventional forms of microfabrication and energy conversions. I was Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana (2005 - 2012) and have been Reader in Chemistry at the University of Liverpool since 2012.

My Fellowship

The overarching objective is to validate experimentally and bring to a new level of utility a conceptual framework for understanding and exploiting the chemical response of polymeric materials to mechanical loads (mechanochemistry). The enormous technological importance of polymeric materials is due largely to the remarkable range of their mechanical properties, in other words, their responses to mechanical loads.

Such mechanical loads on polymer solids, melts or solutions have long been known to fragment polymers without the high temperatures that are normally required for strong covalent bonds to break. Such mechanochemical effect controls a diverse range of industrially important phenomena and much empirical effort has been devoted to compensating for its detrimental effects in existing technological processes and materials, and increasingly, creating materials that exploit it.

The fellowship allows us to place such effort on a much firmer footing by:

  • Developing a theoretically sound conceptual framework within which to organize and generalize the existing empirical observations, and experimental and computational tools to enable systematic discoveries of new, counterintuitive, patterns of load-reactivity correlations.
  • Integrating polymer mechanochemistry into the broader intellectual foundation of materials science.

Motivation to Apply

It’s the only scheme in the UK I’m aware of with the financial scope that is commensurate with the challenges posed by the problem to be solved.

Career benefit of Fellowship

The fellowship’s financial scale and duration are critical for rebuilding rapidly my research group after having moved it from the US just before securing the fellowship.