Henkel confers research award for outstanding doctorate thesis
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The science of foam
“Congratulations on your marvelous thesis,” said Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Head of Global Research and Development and Supply Chain Management at Henkel’s Laundry and Home Care business sector in complimenting talented scientist and researcher Dr. Enda Carey, who completed his doctorate at Dublin University early in 2010, supervised by Prof. Dr. Cosima Stubenrauch. “As a scientifically aligned company, it is very much in Henkel’s interest to support young researchers. And in conferring the first Laundry and Home Care Research Award, we are sending out a clear signal that we want to inspire people to get involved in research projects related to the science of laundry and home care products."
In his doctorate thesis, Carey investigated how the composition of surfactant mixtures affect foam formation and what properties the foams then exhibit. Surfactants are the wash-active substances in laundry and home care products that, in combination with water, are responsible for the formation of foams and detergent bubbles – as in the case of the oldest surfactant of them all, soap. Such foams can have widely differing properties: people who themselves have tried to manufacture a good soap-bubble solution know that it is no easy matter getting the mixture right. And that also applies to laundry and home care products, all of which have to have exactly the right kind of – sometimes very different – foams to suit the intended application. For example, laundry detergents for delicates need to develop a great deal of foam in order to protect the somewhat fragile garments from too much mechanical stress and strain in the washing machine.
“Foams are important for our research, because foam is regarded by consumers as a sign of real efficiency. However, it is having the right proportion of foam and having the right composition that really ensure optimum cleaning performance. The results produced by Dr. Carey have added important knowledge in this regard,” said Dr. Arndt Scheidgen, Head of Research at Laundry and Home Care, in praising the Dublin awardee – who is now set to continue his scientific career at the University of Stuttgart. Carey expressed the honor that he felt: “I am delighted to receive this award – it is a wonderful recognition and welcome reward for the years of effort that I have put into this project."
Following the award ceremony, Carey was given an opportunity to present the results of his thesis to the Technology Advisory Board of Henkel’s Laundry and Home Care business sector. The Board members are top international scientists from all the disciplines of relevance to Henkel's research and development, experts who support Henkel in, for example, identifying and assessing new trends.
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA