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New Ph.D. students in Chemistry

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Chemistry welcomes back 2009 Honours students, Nick Ballam and Wayne Dillon who have recently embarked upon new Ph.D. programs with an industrial flavour.

Nic BallamNick  will be working in the Catalysis group of Associate Professor Trevor Brown.

Catalysis is a vital field within chemistry and will become increasingly important in a world of environmental issues such as climate change and
rapidly depleting reserves of fossil fuels. There is a paucity of information on heterogeneous basic catalysts. This project will investigate the kinetics and acid-base properties of the catalytic decomposition of 2-butanol over magnesium oxide, zirconium dioxide, vanadium pentoxide, beryllium oxide and calcium oxide using a low-pressure steady-state technique, which will also be used to investigate the
pretreatment of these catalysts at high temperatures.

Research into the surface chemistry of each of the metal oxides will also  be carried out.

Wayne Dillon is working with Dr Peter Lye in the development of functionalised optical fibres for remote metal ion sensing .

Wayne Dillon

Wayne Dillon

The development of technologies with high sensitivity, short response times and selectivity is of increasing importance for applications in industrial processing and environmental monitoring. This project is an investigation into a potential technology that will allow the detection or sensing of metal ions using photonics. The chief goal of the project will be to develop an optical fibre system capable of detecting the presence, and concentration, of metal ions in solution. This will be achieved by grafting macrocyclic polyamine ligands onto the surface of silica core optical fibres. Macrocyclic polyamine ligands have been shown to have high levels of selectivity for metal ions. Additionally, the incorporation of diazo functional groups to these ligands would allow metal ion detection based on colour changes resulting from the ligand and not the metal complex.

The design and synthesis of the attaching ligands will be of particular interest, as will the determination of such values as formation constants, formation kinetics and surface coverage.

CHEM210, Chemical Structure now on facebook

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Second-year unit at UNE Armidale for those seeking an understanding of chemistry at the most fundamental level.  Also see the Course and Unit Catalogue at:

Science in the Bush 2009

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Approximately 250 year 7 to 10 students from right across northern New South Wales, from Coffs Harbour to Boggabilla, passed through the 1st year chemistry laboratories as part of ‘Science in the Bush’ on August 20th, beginning what we hope will be a life-long involvement with liquid nitrogen, the nylon rope trick, dendritic silver crystals and poly(vinyl alcohol) slime. Each group spent about 45 minutes on the hands-on activities, which added up  to a very full day for technical staff Fran McDonald and Andrew Wallace and the four enthusiastic Honours students who acted as demonstrators on the day.  Science in the Bush is held at UNE annually as part of National Science Week and is targetted at secondary students in the crucial years where it has been reported that most young people lose interest in science. Every year has had a large contribution from Chemistry, but this was the first year we used the larger laboratory to host our activity, giving many more students a chance to work with real chemicals in a real laboratory environment.


Pearson Book Prizes for Academic Excellence in Chemistry

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Congratulations to Karina Bennett and Kenneth Mills who are the recipients of the Pearson Australia Awards for Excellence in Chemistry for CHEM120 in 2008.

Two prizes, each a $200 Pearson book voucher, are awarded for CHEM110 and CHEM120 courses each year to two students who successfully complete advanced work during each course.

Well done Karina and Kenneth!

2009 Honours Students in Chemistry

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Nick Ballam, Base catalysis at low-pressures, Supervisor – A/Prof. Trevor Brown

Kate Cavanagh, Reactivity and mutagenicity of N-acyloxy-N-alkoxyamides, -carbamates and -ureas, Supervisor – Prof. Stephen Glover

Wayne Dillon, Antimony electrowinning, Supervisors – Dr Peter Lye and A/Prof. Trevor Brown

Rowan Prangley, Polymer membranes for pervaporation of water/alkanol mixtures, Supervisor – Dr Chris Fellows

Alex Simpson, Antimony speciation in leach solutions, Supervisors – Dr Peter Lye and A/Prof. Trevor Brown