Biographical Information

Kenneth MacKenzie is recognised for his excellence in fundamental research concerning the chemistry of ceramics, minerals and inorganic materials. His work is characterised by a facility for experimental innovation and has involved the use of a wide range of spectroscopies. He is especially noted for his work using Mössbauer spectroscopy and solid state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. In this latter work he has been effective in using a wide range of less commonly used stable nuclei to gain important new insights regarding chemical structure in mineral systems and ceramics. He has developed a number of important international links, he has published extensively, and most recently he has co-authored a major research monograph on Multi-Nuclear Solid State NMR.

Research Interests

  • Development of new inorganic materials (advanced ceramics, geopolymers, composites)
  • New energy-efficient methods for synthesis and processing of materials
  • Nanoporous materials for industrial and ecological applications
  • Solid-state multi-nuclear NMR studies of the synthesis, structure and properties of inorganic materials

A selection of recent research projects:

  • Structural studies of inorganic solids by solid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy This spectroscopic technique is being used to provide unique information about the crystal structures and chemistry of a wide range of ceramics, glasses, cements and geopolymers.
  • Mechanochemical synthesis of sialon ceramics The use of mechanochemical synthesis (high-energy grinding) is being pioneered to lower the synthesis temperature and reduce the energy needed to produce a range of advanced engineering ceramics.
  • Synthesis and properties of new silica-rich, boron and phosphorus-containing aluminosilicate geopolymersGeopolymers are a new class of ecologically-sensitive materials with ceramic-like properties and applications but which do not require high temperatures nor produce greenhouse gases in their synthesis.
  • Synthesis, structure and properties of borate and phosphate aluminate compounds with the crystal structure of mulliteMullite is a ceramic material with excellent physical properties, making it a potential candidate as an aerospace engineering material. Other materials with crystal structures related to mullite are being synthesised and investigated as possible functional ceramics.
  • Synthesis and properties of nanoporous ion exchangers using mineral structures as templatesNew adsorbent materials for selectively removing environmentally hazardous materials from waterways and industrial waste streams are being produced from cheap and readily available raw materials.
  • Mechanochemical formation of reactive tungsten carbide precursors from natural wolframiteThe production of materials for cutting tools is typically an energy-intensive process. Mechanochemical methods are being investigated to improve the energy-efficiency of this synthesis.