Dr Michael P. Weir

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Research Associate in Polymer Physics


The continuous theme throughout my research is the study of polymers at surfaces and interfaces, responsive polymers, and polymers under confinement. My primary experimental methods are the powerful averaging techniques of neutron and X-ray scattering, with particular experience in neutron reflectometry and small-angle scattering.

Currently I am developing insights into the relationship between structure and dynamics in polymers and polymer nanocomposites, using inelastic and quasi-elastic neutron scattering techniques and neutron spin echo spectroscopy in tandem with traditional elastic/structural measurements. This work also ties in with rheological measurements performed by colleagues at Durham University.


After an introduction to polymer physics during an undergraduate research project at The University Of Nottingham, I completed my Ph.D. with Professor Richard A. L. Jones FRS in Sheffield in 2010, with a thesis entitled “Voltage-induced swelling and de-swelling of weak polyelectrolyte brushes”.

I then spent just over two years as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Bragg Institute, a neutron scattering centre at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, outside Sydney, Australia. During this time, I was working with the Australian national organization, the ‘Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers’ and engaged academic-industrial research projects with neutron and X-ray scattering technqiues. During this time, along with a group of scientists, I represented ANSTO at the Parliament of Australia at an annual ‘Science meets Parliament’ event.

I then spent just under a year as a Journals Publisher for a small portfolio of materials science journals at Elsevier in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, during which time I also served as Associate Editor for Materials Today.

In September 2013, I returned to The University of Sheffield as a Research Associate working for Professor Nigel Clarke on the ‘GRAPOL’ project studying polymer-graphene nanocomposites.


7. Yiapanis, G. et al. Molecular mechanism of stabilization of thin films for improved water evaporation protection. Langmuir 29, 14451–9 (2013).

6. Topham, P. D. et al. The relationship between charge density and polyelectrolyte brush profile using simultaneous neutron reflectivity and in situ attenuated total internal reflection FTIR. Langmuir 29, 6068–76 (2013).

5. Hsu, Y.-C. et al. A fundamental study on photo-oxidative degradation of linear low density polyethylene films at embrittlement. Polymer (Guildf). 53, 2385–2393 (2012).

4. Weir, M. P. & Parnell, A. J. Water Soluble Responsive Polymer Brushes. Polymers (Basel). 3, 2107–2132 (2011).

3. Weir, M. P. et al. Voltage-induced swelling and deswelling of weak polybase brushes. Langmuir 27, 11000–7 (2011).

2. Edmondson, S., Vo, C.-D., Armes, S. P., Unali, G.-F. & Weir, M. P. Layer-by-layer deposition of polyelectrolyte macroinitiators for enhanced initiator density in surface-initiated ATRP. Langmuir 24, 7208–15 (2008).

1. Sharp, J., Thomas, K. & Weir, M. Mechanically driven wrinkling instability in thin film polymer bilayers. Phys. Rev. E 75, 011601 (2007).