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Within the Melville Laboratory we have a wide range of charaterisation equipment. The specific pieces of equipment and their use are outlined below. Certain equipment is accessible to other internal (departmental/university) groups. We do allow for external usage from either other research groups external to the University or Industry. There are charges associated with usage and policies in place to ensure safety, appropiate training and insurance. 
If you are interested in using equipment located in the Melville, please contact Prof Scherman and cc MelSec stating if you are an internal (departmental/university) or external (academic/industry) user, the piece(s) of equipment of interest, estimated duration of use and proposed frequency of usage (weekly/monthly/annual). 

Gel permeation chromatography (GPC)

Gel permeation chromatography (GPC), also known as size exclusion chromatography (SEC), is a widely used analytical technique for separating and characterising polymers based on their molecular size. It utilizes a porous stationary phase that allows smaller molecules to enter the pores and take longer to elute, while larger molecules elute more quickly, resulting in the separation of polymer samples based on their molecular weight distribution. We have several GPCs that run different solvents incuding chloroform, THF, DMF and aqueous. 
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The zetasizer is used for the measurement of particle size and zeta potential in colloidal and nanoparticle systems. It employs dynamic light scattering (DLS) and electrophoretic mobility measurements to analyse the size distribution and surface charge of particles in suspension, providing valuable insights into their stability and behaviour.

Plasma Oxidiser

We use this to generate and control a high-energy plasma environment. It oxidises or modifies the surface properties of materials, allowing for surface cleaning, activation, or functionalisation. The plasma oxidizer is particularly useful for enhancing adhesion properties, promoting surface wettability, and improving the compatibility of various materials for applications in fields such as biomaterials, electronics, and surface coating.
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Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

DSC measures the heat flow associated with thermal transitions and reactions in materials. Specifically, it measures the difference in heat flow between the sample and a reference as a function of temperature. DSC provides valuable information about phase transitions, glass transitions, melting points, crystallisation processes, and heat capacities, aiding in the characterisation of materials' thermal properties and behavior.

Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC)

ITC is used to measure the heat changes associated with a chemical reaction occurring in a solution. It involves the precise measurement of the heat flow between a sample solution and a reference solution as one is titrated into the other. ITC provides valuable information about the binding affinity, stoichiometry, and thermodynamic parameters (such as enthalpy, entropy, and association constants) of molecular interactions, including protein-ligand interactions and host-guest interactions.


An elipsometer measures and analyses the thickness and optical properties of thin films and coatings. It measures the changes in the polarisation state of light upon reflection or transmission from a sample surface and can provide valuable information about the refractive index, thickness, roughness, and other optical parameters of the thin film or coating, making it a powerful tool for materials characterisation and surface analysis.
More information available here.

Peptide Synthesiser

This enables the automated synthesis of peptides and facilitates the step-by-step assembly of amino acids to create custom-designed peptides with precise sequences. It utilises solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) techniques, where the peptide chain is built on a solid resin support, allowing for efficient coupling reactions and side chain protection. The synthesiser automates the repetitive steps of amino acid coupling, deprotection, and washing, enabling the synthesis of peptides with high yield and purity.
More information available here.
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Biotage: Automated Flash Chromatography

We have two Biotage automated flash chromatography setups. They use pre-packed flash columns and a fully automated instrument to isolate target molecules from synthetic reactions. The approach is extremely rapid and reproducible, much greener than traditional methods, as sample loadings are maximised and therefore solvent consumption reduced, and very straightforward and simple to use with touch screen software, a robust and reliable design and assisted method development.
More information available here.
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Electospray Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (ESI-MS)

ESI-MS is used for the identification and characterisation of molecules based on their mass-to-charge ratio. It involves the generation of charged ions from a sample by electrospray ionization and subsequent analysis of these ions in the mass spectrometer. 
More information available here.

UV-Vis Spectrophotometer

The UV-Vis can be used to analyse the absorption and transmission of ultraviolet (UV) and visible (Vis) light by a sample across a range of wavelengths. UV-Vis can be used for quantification of analytes, determination of concentration, characterisation of molecular structure, and evaluation of chemical reactions. The instrument provides valuable information about the optical properties and molecular interactions of substances.
More information available here.


Information coming soon
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The Ubbelohde viscometer is a type of capillary viscometer commonly used to measure the viscosity of polymeric and oligomeric solutions. It operates based on the principle of measuring the time it takes for a fixed volume of fluid to flow through a capillary under controlled conditions, allowing for accurate determination of viscosity.


FT-IR is a versatile analytical technique that utilises infrared radiation to identify and characterise the chemical bonds and functional groups present in a sample. It measures the absorption and transmission of infrared light by the sample, providing valuable information about its molecular structure, composition, and chemical properties.

Thermogravimetric Analyser (TGA)

TGA is used to analyse the thermal stability and composition of materials. It measures the weight changes of a sample as a function of temperature or time under controlled heating conditions. TGA is valuable for studying thermal decomposition, degradation, and mass loss behavior of polymers, composites, and other materials, providing insights into their thermal properties, decomposition kinetics, and stability.

Glove Box

The glove box provides a controlled environment for handling sensitive or air-sensitive materials. The glove box is purged with nitrogen, to create a low-humidity and oxygen-free environment, enabling safe handling and processing of materials that are sensitive to moisture, oxygen, or other contaminants.
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We have a 5L reactor is used for the scale up of chemical reactions. The reactor is equipped with temperature control, agitation, and other features to facilitate precise control and monitoring of the reaction parameters. It can be used for process optimisation, reaction scale up studies, and the synthesis of larger quantities of chemicals or materials.

Contact Angle

Contact Angle is used to assess the wettability of a liquid droplet on a solid surface. It refers to the angle formed at the solid-liquid interface where the droplet meets the surface. The contact angle provides information about the interaction between the liquid and the surface, indicating whether the surface is hydrophilic (low contact angle) or hydrophobic (high contact angle). We use this to study surface functionalisation, adhesion, and stimuli-responsive behavior on solid surfaces.
More information available here.
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Plate Reader

A plate reader or multiwell plate reader is used to measure and analyse small quantities (30 μL) samples from multiple wells simultaneously, typically in 96- or 384-well microplates. The plate reader can perform various measurements, including absorbance, fluorescence, luminescence, allowing quantification in a high-throughput manner. Plate readers are widely used in the biomedicial field and help facilitate efficient data analysis.
More information available here.


A rheometer can measure the flow and deformation properties of materials under different conditions. Rheometers apply controlled shear stress or strain to a sample and measure the resulting response, such as viscosity, elasticity, viscoelasticity, and other mechanical properties. By varying the experimental parameters such as temperature, shear rate, or frequency, rheometers can provide insights into the flow characteristics, structural changes, and material behavior under different conditions. 
More information available here.

High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
Analytical to Prep Scale

HPLC is used for the separation, identification, and quantification of compounds in a sample. It utilises a liquid mobile phase and a stationary phase, such as a chromatographic column, to separate the components based on their different interactions with the stationary phase.
More information available here.
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UV Reactor

This can be used to conducting reactions that are triggered or catalysed by ultraviolet (UV) light. We have 3 different lamps available to access various wavelngth ranges:
UV A (315 - 400 nm) 
UV B (280 - 315 nm) 
UV C (<280 nm)
We use the UV reactor for  photochemical reactions (e.g. polymerisations), photocatalysis, and photodegradation studies. Our UV reactor is also equipted with a built in stirring plate to enable stirring during the irriadation process. 
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