Maria is a PhD student working in the area of complex interfaces, a meeting point between physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering. More specifically, she is investigating the aggregation and deposition mechanisms of organic molecules that lead to fouling of oil-exposed surfaces.
Oil exposed surfaces are susceptible to carbonaceous deposits which in turn are responsible for compromising performance and reducing profitability across the hydrocarbons value chain. Thus, a better understanding of the processes leading to the deposition of these complex and heavy organic compounds is required, since it is unclear whether they primarily aggregate in the liquid phase or adsorb at the liquid-solid interface. In an effort to understand the mechanisms behind deposition, Maria uses different modalities of atomic force microscopy (AFM) to characterise the morphology and map the mechanical properties of relevant, real-life systems post-mortem as well as model systems – pre-mortem and post-mortem. Her multidisciplinary project is supported by the International Centre of Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) in collaboration with Imperial College London, Manchester University and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Before pursuing a PhD, Maria received an MEng in Electrical Engineering and Information Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
Maria tweets at @MariaKaimaki