Pooja Takkalkar received a full international scholarship to conduct her research into biodegradable polymers for use in food packaging applications at RMIT.
PhD (Chemical Engineering)
I developed a passion for research during my masters. It gave me the strong desire to lead my own project and investigate at a deeper level.
After completing my preliminary studies and research in India, I came to Australia to complete my PhD. I was fortunate to receive an RMIT PhD International Scholarship.
I chose RMIT because it is a QS 5-star university and located in one of the best cities in world! It also has the infrastructure and high quality research facilities needed to support my research.
I developed passion for research during my masters. It gave me the desire to lead my own project and carry out investigation at a deeper level. This experience confirmed my decision to pursue a PhD.
With the encouragement and help from my supervisors, I decided to undertake research in the area of polymer nanocomposites.
My research is focused on enhancing the properties of PLA (polylactic acid) based nanocomposites with starch nanocrystals as nanofillers to make it suitable for food packaging applications.
PLA is a biodegradable polymer with some inherent limitations (such as brittleness, poor thermal and barrier properties) which limit its use in the commercial packaging industry. Starch nanocrystals have advantages that include being low cost, readily available, renewable and biodegradable.
If I can improve the overall properties of PLA then this polymer can be used for a wide variety of packaging applications, including for food packaging.
RMIT has the laboratory facilities that I needed to complete my work. I use the Chemical Engineering Laboratories and the School of Science chemistry labs too. I do all of the morphological characterisation at the RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility (RMMF) and the thermal studies in the RMIT Rheology and Material Processing Centre (RMPC).
My supervisors have been a constant source of inspiration for me along with my colleagues. I am truly inspired by their work over the past few years.
I’m interested in pursuing a career in industrial research and if given the opportunity, I would like to do further research as a post doctorate or research fellow.