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York chemistry PhD student brings new ideas to aviation fluid research

Posted on 19 July 2017

Dr Nicole Whitelaw, who has worked with the pioneers of safety critical aviation fluids for more than six years, is bringing new ideas to Kilfrost Ltd. after being awarded a PhD in the study of supramolecular material science.

Nicole studied for three years in the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, under the supervision of Professor David Smith, whilst carrying out her duties for Kilfrost Ltd.

She believes the PhD will help her to bring innovation to current research as well as to identify alternative ways to improve performance, productivity and efficiency.

She said: “From the start the company has encouraged me to work to very high standards and push me to achieve the very best of my ability.

“They have instilled trust in me as an individual and have ensured that the research was completely my own and allowed me complete control.”

The PhD research involved the study of low temperature, environmentally-friendly, self-assembled nano-materials, which allowed for the analysis of new technology from molecular design through to macromolecular application properties.

Nicole stated that the results of the research were “outstanding” and work in this area represented a bright future within the aviation and smart technology industries.

She added: “It may also allow me to introduce a completely new technology to the aviation industry, which has never been seen or used before. My research allows for the creation of new products that exceed the performance attributes of current fluids within aviation.

“It has also shown that with intelligent design, smart technology aviation fluids can be tuned and optimised to provide enhanced physical properties, as well as improved holdover and aerodynamic performance.”

Kilfrost is a third-generation, family owned business recognised as the global leader in safety critical, ice and frost protection chemistry and rheology. Working across industrial and aviation sectors, Kilfrost maintains a proud focus on pioneering the next generation of products to raise industry standards, and to meet the growing needs of its commercial clients and the wider community.

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