Matthew Cowan

Senior LecturerMatthew Cowan

Link Rm 409
Internal Phone: 92521
Join me in understanding the world's problems and building the solutions to solve them

Research Interests

Kia Ora! Welcome, it's great to have you here.

I have a keen interest in leading advances that will significantly impact society through the creation of commercializable knowledge and technology, and the scientific community in particular through improving fundamental understanding and best practices. This means I actively communicate and engage with the perceived users of any technology I develop so that I can create something they think is useful (rather than what I think would be useful).

I am always looking for new research opportunities and people to work with, so if you think that I can help or would like to join my team then please reach out. I'll do my best to understand your problem and if I can't propose a solution, then I'll try my best to direct you to someone who can.

My background includes both chemistry and chemical engineering and has involved work on materials including polymers, ionic liquids, liquid crystals, metal-ion complexes, and ceramic membranes for applications in gas separations through membranes and adsorbents and molecular switching for electronics.

Presently (2017) my focus is on the separation the gases used for making plastics. Current industrial practice is to use a system of cryogenic distillation that accounts for 0.3% of global energy use (more than the energy used by New Zealand!). My research is attempting to develop a solution that meets the criteria of long-term reliability, and reduced capital and operating costs.

Recent Publications

  • Egerton S., Sim C., Park HE., Staiger MP., Patil KM. and Cowan MG. (2022) Controlling coefficients of thermal expansion in thermoplastic materials: effects of zinc cyanide and ionic liquid. Materials Advances
  • Elashkar AH., Hedley GS., Qazvini OT., Telfer SG. and Cowan MG. (2021) An upper bound visualization of design trade-offs in adsorbent materials for gas separations: alkene/alkane adsorbents. Chemical Communications 57(57): 6950-6959.
  • Elashkar AH., Parasar D., Muñoz-Castro A., Doherty CM., Cowan MG. and Dias HVR. (2021) Isolable 1-Butene Copper(I) Complexes and 1-Butene/Butane Separation Using Structurally Adaptable Copper Pyrazolates. ChemPlusChem 86(3): 364-372.
  • Parasar D., Elashkar AH., Yakovenko AA., Jayaratna NB., Edwards BL., Telfer SG., Dias HVR. and Cowan MG. (2020) Overcoming Fundamental Limitations in Adsorbent Design: Alkene Adsorption by Non-porous Copper(I) Complexes. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition 59(47): 21001-21006.
  • Feng X., Kawabata K., Cowan MG., Dwulet GE., Toth K., Sixdenier L., Haji-Akbari A., Noble RD., Elimelech M. and Gin DL. (2019) Single crystal texture by directed molecular self-assembly along dual axes. Nature Materials 18(11): 1235-1243.