Alan Windle’s central contribution to polymer science has been in the study of the degrees of structural order intermediate between fully crystalline and amorphous (liquid-like). The hallmark of his work has been innovative diffraction analysis closely coupled with the development of computer methods of molecular modelling. This approach confirmed the replacement of the meander model of the glassy state by the random coil theory, and also provided the first conformational models of a series of glassy polymers. He developed new ways of measuring and understanding molecular orientation in deformed polymers, and his studies of polymer–solvent systems led to a theory of ‘case II’ diffusion, which is now widely accepted and exploited. His research on liquid crystalline polymers has been rewarded by a detailed understanding of the development of microstructure, and in particular by new insights into the crystallisation of random copolymers which depend on the matching of aperiodic sequences.
Interest and expertise
Materials science (incl materials engineering)
Royal Society Armourers & Brasiers' Company Prize
In recognition of his work in the areas of liquid crystalline polymers, computational modelling, and carbon nanotubes.