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Measurements for Complex Fluids Formulation: A NIST/UK Dialogue


An international dialogue on state-of-the-art measurement methods and emerging needs in the formulation and manufacture of complex fluids.


Complex fluids are multi-component liquids with structures on the mesoscopic length scale – these structures are responsible for the performance of the fluids and are highly susceptible to external perturbations, such as flow or temperature. Common examples include emulsions, polymer solutions, and foams with applications cutting across virtually all technology sectors.

This meeting will bring together participants from NIST, the UK, and elsewhere to stimulate international collaborations and sharing of best practices for testing and manufacturing methods. New test methods are desired to: screen composition, select and understand process steps and conditions, test material properties and test performance of complex fluid formulations. These will help bring complex fluid products cheaply to new markets.


To share knowledge of best practices for test and manufacturing methods and to stimulate US/UK collaborations. 

Expected Outcome:

Discussion (on-site and follow-up) will answer the following questions:

1.       Is screening appropriate for manufacturing processes (unit operations and conditions)?  What processes do you want to understand better?

2.       To screen composition, is it better to measure material properties or to devise a test based on a key process step and measure characteristics of the output?  What are the relative merits of each if both are necessary?

3.       What are the best measures for product stability?  (Improved test precision or implementing adverse conditions?)

4.       What are the best performance metrics?  For which performance metrics are there needs to develop better tests or models?

5.       How to connect performance measures to measures of material properties?  What constitutive relationships, models and modeling techniques are lacking?

6.       For which material properties are there needs to develop better tests or models?


Short talks will describe industry needs and capabilities and NIST programs in complex fluids measurements.  Discussion throughout and at the end of the day will address - Material property testing- Product performance testing- Composition screening- Manufacturing process evaluation and optimization. 


An 18 person delegation from the UK, representing companies who formulate and manufacture complex fluids, ranging from multi-nationals to start-ups; other US representatives are also invited and welcome.  Delegates represent technology providers, end users, research centers and professional groups. The visit is jointly planned by the non-profit Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN) and the NIST Complex Fluids Group.


9:00 Introductions to NIST and UK Formulations
Getting to know NIST,  Mike Fasolka, Kate Beers
UK innovation landscape & national strategy for Chemistry-using industries, Darren Ragheb, Colin Tattam (chemistry Innovation)

9:30 NIST Programs
Complex Fluids Intro, Kalman Migler (NIST)
Viscometry and Rheometry, Kalman Migler (NIST)
Gradient Compositions, Kate Beers (NIST)
Separating Carbon Nanotubes by Type, Jeff Fagan (NIST)

10:30 – 10:50 - Break  

Causal Factors in Protein Stability, Marc Cicerone (NIST)
Fast Tests for Stability, David Simmons (NIST)
Particle Standards for Protein Stability, Dean Ripple (NIST)
Interfacial Rheometry, Kendra Erk (NIST)
Neutrons to Advance the Manufacture of Soft Materials, Ron Jones (NIST)  

12:00 – 13:00 – Networking Lunch, NIST cafeteria

13:00 Industry Needs and Capabilities
Characterisation Challenges for Home and Personal Care Products, Mark Baker (Unilever HT program)
High Throughput Formulation at CMD, Neil Jones (Centre for Material Discovery/U Liverpool)
Understanding drug formulation behaviour through gastric modeling, Martin Stocks (the Model Gut)
Process measurement needs for complex fluids as intermediates to making solid products, David York (P&G)
Complex Fluids & Characterisation overview including Rheology of Liquid Crystals, Helen Dutton (U Manchester)  

14:20  Break

Parallel detection and particle characterisation in concentrated systems, David Goodall (Paraytec)
Image analysis for emulsion/dispersion manufacturing processes, Richard Holdich (Micropore/U Loughborough)
Microfluidic processing for dispersion, Mimi Panagiotou (Microfluidics)

15:30 – Discussion:
Properties/Performance/Process/Screening The Complex Fluids Quartet

16:15 – Close

Security Instructions:

Those wishing to attend from outside NIST need to contact Steve Hudson (, 301-975-6579) in advance.


NIST: Eric Lin, Kalman Migler, Kate Beers, Jeff Fagan, David Simmons, Marc Cicerone, Dean Ripple, Kendra Erk, Ron Jones

Mark Baker (Unilever), Neil Jones (U Liverpool), Martin Stocks (the Model Gut), David York (P&G), Helen Dutton (U Manchester), David Goodall (Paraytec), Richard Holdich (Micropore), Mimi Panagiotou (Microfluidics)


Start Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2011
End Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Location: Building 224/Room B245
Audience: Industry, Government, Academia
Format: Workshop


Registration is open, but limited.

Registration Contact:

Steve Hudson (, 301-975-6579)

Technical Contact:

Steve Hudson (, 301-975-6579)

Organizing committee:
Steve Hudson
Eric Lin
Kalman Migler
Fred Phelan