Royce PDRA Dr Shelley Rawson Celebrates ToScA Conference Win

Dr Shelley Rawson, Postdoctoral Research Associate for the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Manchester was awarded 1st place winner in the Tomography for Scientific Advancement Society (ToScA) UK & Europe 2022 Conference poster competition.

The annual ToScA UK & Europe conference was this year held at Queen Mary University London between 7 – 9 September, with members of the scientific community from around the world in attendance to share research and ideas in the field of tomography.

This year’s event consisted of keynote speakers, podium talks networking opportunities and poster presentations, facilitating open discussions and collaborative opportunities between academia, commercial users and service providers.

The winning poster, titled ‘Toughening Mechanisms in Nanocomposites Revealed by in situ Synchrotron Imaging’ presented the research of Dr Rawson and collaborators on the topic of nanopatterned composite materials, which are being studied as a means of increasing the fracture toughness of otherwise brittle materials.

Dr Rawson explained:

These materials mimics nacre, which is a natural material also known as mother of pearl found in some shells. Nacre exhibits a high degree of fracture toughness as compared with its main constituent material and so nanopatterned composites look to mimic its structure.

The aim of the research was to identify which toughening mechanisms, as seen in nacre, were also occurring in the nanopatterned composites. This project used synchrotron X-ray computed tomography at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility to observe the structure of the material whilst it was being fractured.

Dr Rawson’s research centres around the understanding of materials which mimic biological structures. These have a hierarchical arrangement of different features seen in the material at different levels of magnification. The research uses X-ray computed tomography alongside mechanical testing and other complimentary techniques to better understand the relationship between the hierarchical structure and the function of a range of different advanced materials.

Dr Rawson is also engaged in another project at Royce partner Imperial College London with Dr Florian Bouville, which seeks to understand fracture toughening mechanisms within the magnetically assisted slip cast composites.

The Tomography for Scientific Advancement Society (ToSCa) represents the international Tomography community and currenrly runs two conferences annually: ToScA UK & Europe and ToScA North America.

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