Dr Karen Johnston

Reader

Chemical and Process Engineering

Contact

Personal statement

My research focuses on (but is not limited to) soft-hard matter interfaces, including polymer composites and heterogeneous nucleation. I use multiscale simulations to provide insight into material properties and I enjoy collaborating closely with experimentalists. I am driven by curiosity and I am interested in a variety of systems, such as phase behaviour of soy milk coffee mixtures. For more information please visit my personal webpage:

http://personal.strath.ac.uk/karen.johnston/

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Area of Expertise

  • Density functional theory (DFT): electronic structure, adsorption and surface energies, vibrational frequencies etc.
  • Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations: structure and dynamics of thin films, liquids, solutions, solids etc. 

Prize And Awards

Strathclyde Team Award
Recipient
2019

More prizes and awards

Qualifications

Member of the Institute of Physics

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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Teaching

My teaching philosophy is to provide the best learning environment by challenging students through providing questions related to everyday exampes, that develop student's understanding and problem solving skills.

I am the course organiser and lecturer for CP102 Introduction to Chemical Engineering: Fundamentals, Techniques and Tools, and I supervise CP407 design projects, 18350 MEng projects, and Distance Learning MSc projects.

 

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Research Interests

Polymer composites are widely used in industry due to their strength, flexibility and light weight. Although generic properties of polymers at surfaces are well understood the interaction between a particular polymer and filler particle is not. The main challenge in simulating polymer-solid interfaces is the different length and time scales involved. This research bridges the gap between the micro- and mesoscale properties using a hierarchical multiscale approach. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are used to obtain the detailed quantum interactions at the interface and this information is used to build surface potentials for atomistic and coarse-grained (CG) molecular dynamics simulations.

 

Professional Activities

ScotCHEM Polymer & Soft Materials Conference III
Participant
13/6/2024
Ingevity UK Ltd
Visiting researcher
6/6/2024
Andrew G. Leach
Host
3/6/2024
High Polymer Research Group
Participant
29/4/2024
CCP5 Executive Committee meeting (Event)
Advisor
25/3/2024
IBioIC Annual Conference
Participant
13/3/2024

More professional activities

Projects

Modelling polylactone crystallisation (AKT Ingevity)
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Academic)
25-Jan-2024 - 23-Jan-2024
Sustainable plastics for bathroom products
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator) Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2022
IBioIC CTP PhD studentship Optimisation of alginate films for sustainable food packaging applications
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2025
ISCF - Biocomposite design for food packaging
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Co-investigator) Magueijo, Vitor (Researcher)
01-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2024
Design of functional chitosan films: antimicrobial and heavy metal capture applications
Mulheran, Paul (Principal Investigator) Ferro, Valerie (Co-investigator) Johnston, Karen (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2024
Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | Anker, Samira
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator) Anker, Samira (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2024

More projects

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Contact

Dr Karen Johnston
Reader
Chemical and Process Engineering

Email: karen.johnston@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 4084