Thomas McCoy

Dr Tom McCoy


  • Position Fellow Junior Research Fellow
  • Subject areas Biotechnology Chemical Engineering
  • School Physical Sciences
  • Department Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, BP Institute
  • Email
  • Department link
  • Phone number 07934 009 323

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

Black man in Britain

Daughters and Sons of the Post-Windrush Generation: Reflections and New Directions

22/06/2021 at 15.00

This Windrush day, join us and the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement for a special panel discussion.

art by Amikam Toren

Art Exhibition Opening: Amikam Toren

29/06/2021 at 17.30

Members of Wolfson are invited to our latest arts exhibition opening event. This is an in-person event with limited capacity, so please make sure to book.

Wolfson College

Foundation Day 2021

30/06/2021 at 18.00

Join President Jane Clarke to toast what makes Wolfson special: its history, achievements and – most of all – its people. Wolfson invites you to celebrate the 56th annual Foundation Day on Wednesday 30 June 2021, 6 to 6.30pm BST (GMT+1).

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Mary Bevan Recital - Leo Appel (violin)

04/07/2021 at 13.30

Every year, Wolfson invites the winner of the Cambridge University Music Society Concerto Competition to the Mary Bevan Recital. 

The Wolfson courtyard spring 2019

Pathway to a sustainable future: Wolfson Who’s who (Fellows-only)

05/07/2021 at 17.00

For the Anniversary Week of the Wolfson Sustainability & Conservation Interdisciplinary Research Hub, a space for views from many disciplines to discuss the pathway towards a sustainable future at Wolfson College