• Question: What are you researching at the minuet?

    Asked by Aussie to Laura, Miriam on 12 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Laura Kent

      Laura Kent answered on 12 Nov 2018:

      Hello 🙂
      Currently I am working on two exciting projects. The first in looking at coatings for electronics to make them waterproof! I am looking at how well the perform in high humidity (high water vapour) and also in condensing environments (in other words we can mimic rain!). Electronics do not tend to like water as it causes corrosion which is why your phone will stop working if you drop it into water! But if you have a protective coating on your electronics that repels water, known as hydrophobic coatings, then you can lengthen the life time of them! So I am evaluating ways to test them to make sure they are fit for purpose!
      I am also developing new tests to support wearable and flexible electronics – even implantable electronics! For example sweat tests which isnt the most glamorous thing but it is very interesting! That’s because sweat has lots of ions dissolved in it which electronics do not like as that promotes corrosion. So again, you will need protective layers or coatings!
      Electronics are really interesting and varied!

    • Photo: Miriam Hogg

      Miriam Hogg answered on 16 Nov 2018:

      I’m a bit late on this one. But I am currently starting a new project looking at how asteroids would react if they came very close to a white dwarf (a star that has run out of all its fuel and ‘died’). We have interesting observations that can only be explained by a small rocky body (like an asteroid or small planet) coming close to the white dwarf and being ripped apart! My new project will model this and look at some of the dynamics of the asteroid and how the pieces of the asteroid rain down onto the white dwarf.