Faidat Akinwole Braimoh
- Course: Complex Particulate Products and Processes CDT
- PhD title: The effect of stearic acid on the melt crystallisation and molecular ordering of Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate (SLI) matrix
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faidat-akinwole-braimoh-676aa581/
Faidat’s PhD is funded by the UK’s Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Through her research, she studies the crystal structure of a synthetic detergent, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate (SLI). She investigates the effect of adding stearic acid, a fatty acid, on the crystallisation of SLI when the mixture is cooled from the melt.
“I was interested in the optimisation of the performance of daily-use personal care products, such as soaps, make-up, and other beauty products,” Faidat explained. “So I applied this to my current research topic, which involves the investigation of the effect of additional component on the crystallisation of soap bars.”
A global network
As part of her research, Faidat engineered remote experiments at Stanford University, California, using specialist technology and the SAXS beamline equipment at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).
“Carrying out a dynamic and time-resolved investigation of SLI and stearic acid, as part of our collaboration with Stanford, has immensely increased our understanding of the binary mixture,” said Faidat.
“It was a vastly rewarding experience which required exceptional communication and teamwork. Crucially, we were able to establish a collaboration with the team at SSRL, alongside developing new technical skills involved in working at a world-leading beamline facility.”
It was a vastly rewarding experience which required exceptional communication and teamwork.
Leeds’ research community
“Within the groups, a few of the researchers are working on similar project to mine,” explained Faidat. “Because of this, we can brainstorm solutions to solve research issues we may be experiencing.
“A few of my friends (within my cohort) and I have made a supportive and inclusive group in a friendly and relaxing space, where we are able to give constructive suggestions and feedback to each other.”
She added: “I am also a member of the Complex Particulate Products and Processes (CP3) Centre for Doctoral Training, the programme provides helpful research-related training workshops. They have helped me to improve my technical writing, to communicate my research and much more. The workshops help me to develop and enhance my researcher skills.”
Working with industry
Speciality company Innospec Inc. sponsors Faidat’s PhD project. As well as being supervised by academic researchers at the University, Faidat has an industry supervisor.
She said: “I have an industrial supervisor who helps the project by providing insightful industrial knowledge applicable to the project.”
“The understanding of how stearic acid may affect the hardening of soap bars is an outcome of my research. This enables Innospec Inc. to understand how the crystal structure of the product governs the product’s performance. The goal is to improve consumer satisfaction.”
I have an industrial supervisor who helps the project by providing insightful industrial knowledge applicable to the project.
Faidat chose to stay on and study for a PhD at Leeds after completing her undergraduate and Masters studies at the University.
She said: “During my Chemistry (BSc, MChem) studies at Leeds, I had a first-hand experience of witnessing Leeds being at the frontline for innovative change, alongside being taught by lectures who were world-leaders in their field.”
“The ‘soft matter and polymeric material’ module initiated my interest in particulate research, more specifically, polymers and personal care products.”
Faidat continued: “The support I received from teaching staff during my undergraduate and postgraduate studies prompted me to apply for a PhD at Leeds.”
“The Complex Particulate Products and Processes (CP3) doctoral programme at Leeds appealed to me because it aligned with my passion for both polymers and personal care products.”
Faidat aspires to continue her research career in industry, supported by the skills she has developed at Leeds.
She added: “I want to be a skilled researcher in the personal care industry. I plan to use the scientific, management and technological skills enhanced during this PhD to work in world leading personal care company. I aspire to work as a formulation scientist to develop and enhance personal care products thus, increasing consumer satisfaction.”
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