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Materials Chemistry Group


​Emma Latchem



  • (2020-present) PhD in Chemistry (probationary), Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • (2016-2020) MChem (with a year in industry), Department of Chemistry, University of York

Research Experience:

  • (2019-2020) Composite Materials Strategic R&I Group, Solvay, Wilton: MChem research project aimed at improving the processability of thermoplastic and thermoset resins used in carbon-fibre reinforced polymer composites.
  • (2018, 9 weeks) Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories (WACL) and Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE), University of York: summer project studying the VOC emissions from building materials, including a bio-based composite board manufactured at GCCE.

Research Interests:

I am interested in novel materials and electrochemical processes that can be applied to mitigate climate change and atmospheric pollution. During my EPSRC/Shell iCASE studentship, I aim to improve the understanding of separator membranes used in aqueous organic redox flow batteries (AORFBs).

Due to the intermittent nature of many renewable energy sources, large scale long-duration energy storage is required to integrate renewable energy into the electricity grid. Long-duration energy storage used for this application needs to be high capacity and low cost. AORFBs are promising candidates for this application because they have the potential to be manufactured on a large scale at low cost. Furthermore, they have a modular and scalable design. As their energy is stored in liquid electrolytes, the overall battery capacity can easily be scaled-up by increasing the electrolyte volume. One of the limiting factors however, is capacity fade due to electrolyte crossover at the separator membrane, which can limit their commercial applications.

During my PhD project, supervised by Dr Alex Forse (Primary Supervisor, Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry) and Professor Vasant Kumar (Co-supervisor, Department of Materials Science), I will use NMR and electrochemical methods to study electrolyte crossover for a range of electrolyte-membrane combinations. The results will be used to develop structure-property relationships for electrolyte crossover and battery performance. Ultimately, these fundamental studies are intended to improve the understanding of electrolyte crossover in AORFBs and facilitate the design of improved separator membranes.

Non-research Interests:

I enjoy anything that involves being outdoors; my favourite activities are skiing and hiking.