The Inaugural Lecture of Professor Vasileios Koutsos, Personal Chair of Soft Materials and Surfaces
From Billy Rosendale
Adhesion and friction phenomena are ubiquitous; they affect our everyday life and play a key role in many engineering and biomedical applications. At the same time, they offer an excellent playground/context for basic science at surfaces and interfaces. In this talk, I will explore the journey from basic science questions on adhesion and tribology to engineering applications. In particular, I will demonstrate how macroscopic quantities such as surface energy can be associated with miniscule adhesive and frictional forces at the scale of single polymer chains, I will compare the desorption of a single polymer chain to the peeling of an adhesive tape, and I will reveal the exotic life of polymer chains at droplets and interfaces. I will also discuss the significance of nanoscale adhesion and friction phenomena to engineering and biomedical applications such as manufacturing and use of tyre rubbers, polymer composites and biomedical microbubbles.
Vasileios Koutsos holds a BSc in Physics (Physics Department, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, 1992) and a PhD in Polymer Science (Chemistry Department & Materials Science Centre, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, 1997). He then secured a competitive Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowship to conduct research on adhesion and tribology at the Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics in Collège de France (Paris, France, 1998-2000). He joined the University of Edinburgh as a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering in 2000, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2005, Reader in 2009, and to a Personal Chair in Soft Materials and Surfaces in 2016.
He works at the interface of Mechanical Engineering Science and Physical Chemistry of Surfaces and his main research interests lie in polymers, rubbers, coatings, composites, nano/micro/bio-mechanics, adhesion, friction, and surface characterisation. Particular emphasis is laid on using the atomic force microscope as an advanced multipurpose tool to probe not only the nanometre-scale morphology but also the nanomechanical, physicochemical, adhesive and frictional properties of materials for both fundamental studies and applications. He has authored over 100 international journal publications and 6 book chapters. He has 3350 citations and an h-index of 34 (Google Scholar). He has given over 50 invited and keynote talks at international conferences, meetings and seminar series. He is Chief Editor of the International Journal of “Proc. IMechE, Part N: Journal of Nanomaterials, Nanoengineering and Nanosystems (JNNN)” and Editorial Board Member of the International Journal “Coatings”.