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

Kill or Cure poster

Art exhibition: 'Kill or Cure'

25/06/2022 at 10.00

Lethal or life-giving? Wolfson's exciting contemporary art exhibition explores the potential of animals, plants, and substances from the natural world to ‘Kill’ and/or ‘Cure’ (open to the public, Saturday and Sundays, 10am - 5pm).

What do you care about? Wolfson Sustainability and Conversation Hub event 26 Aug 2022. Various trees and an hour glass denote nature is running out of time

What do you care about? - S&C Hub

26/08/2022 at 13.00

Wolfson's Sustainability & Conservation (S&C) Hub invites you to join the first gathering of its community for the academic year 2022-2023, discussing “What do you care about?”

Wolfson Gardens

Open Cambridge: Garden Tour

09/09/2022 at 14.00

Take some time out of your day to engage your senses with the sights and sounds of Wolfson's plants and wildlife.


Graduation Ceremony

10/09/2022 at 09.00

Graduation ceremonies are the culmination of students’ hard work and commitment, and a moment to celebrate the completion of their Cambridge degree.

A student photgraphs their friend at graduation

Oxford and Cambridge Mature Student Virtual Open Day

17/09/2022 at 12.00

Oxford and Cambridge will be teaming up to host a virtual event for mature students who are interested in applying to either Oxford or Cambridge.