Thomas McCoy

Dr Tom McCoy


Tom is a surface/colloid scientist and Oppenheimer Research Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.

Thomas McCoy

Tom finished his doctoral research in Physical Chemistry in 2018 at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. His research investigated the chemical processing of 2-dimensional carbon nanomaterials in water for the purposes of water purification and oil recovery. In addition, he explored the self-assembly of surfactant molecules that spontaneously form complex fluids using small-angle neutron scattering.

Immediately after his PhD, Tom commenced his postdoc at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB). The project was in collaboration with Infineum UK Ltd. to explore the mechanism of friction reduction and anti-wear caused by small molecule additives in engine oil formulations using neutron reflectivity. Tom also delivers two lecture courses in CEB on Analytical and Physical Chemistry for CET1.

In the 2021, Tom became and Oppenheimer Research Fellow in CEB and a Junior Research Fellow in Wolfson.

Tom’s current research explores the role of organic friction modifiers in engines. These are molecular additives that are incorporated into engine oil formulations to reduce friction and wear between contacting machine parts, improving performance and longevity. The precise mechanism by which these compounds adhere to a metal surface and reduce friction is still debated. Trips to ISIS, Britain’s nuclear spallation source and Institut Laue Langevin, Grenoble, France, are frequent to exploit the use of neutron scattering techniques to elucidate important structural insights for these additives.

For his Oppenheimer Fellowship, Tom will investigate the design and deposition of functional coatings based on self-organising colloidal particles. Understanding how particle interactions influence the properties and morphology of films is a key aim of the work. These findings will provide novel, low cost and low energy materials for new and improved surface coatings, helping in the collective effort towards sustainable materials and reduced climate impact.

What's on

Photograph by Hannah Lister

Art Exhibition: 'Signs for the Living'

04/02/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Signs for the Living' featuring work by Hannah Lister, winner of this year's Wolfson Royal Academy Schools Graduate prize.


Lent Term College Service

07/02/2023 at 18.15

Wolfson's termly College Service led by our ecumenical Chaplaincy Team.

Old photograph album in the foreground; basket of old documents in the background

WolfWorks - Research data management for your dissertation or thesis

11/02/2023 at 10.00

A hands-on session to help you manage your data - whether copies of archival documents, interview transcripts, code or physical samples.

Photograph by Hannah Lister

Hannah Lister: Signs for the Living Exhibition Opening Event

14/02/2023 at 17.30

We warmly invite you to the opening night of Wolfson’s new exhibition: Hannah Lister - Signs for the Living.