Piotr Kowalczyk
M.Sc. (Eng.) Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer in Physics

About me

I completed my Ph.D. in Diversity and Fractal Science at Chiba University (Japan) where I worked under the supervision of Professor Katsumi Kaneko. My Ph.D. research focused on description of gas adsorption processes on porous materials, with emphasis on development and application of computer simulations for predicting mixed-gas adsorption and separation, on-board hydrogen and methane storage in porous materials, sieving of hydrogen isotopes using perm-selective porous membranes, and structural characterization of porous materials.

Degrees

• Ph.D., Diversity and Fractal Science, Chiba University, Japan, 2004 (in area of physical chemistry, thesis: theoretical evaluation of surface nanostructures with gas adsorption,  supervisor: Professor Katsumi Kaneko, Nanomolecular Chemistry Group & Nanomaterial Chemistry Group, current site: http://www.shinshu-u.ac.jp/faculty/engineering/kaneko-group/visitors.html)

• Bachelor Honours Degree, Postgraduate Diploma, Jagiellonian University, Poland, 2001(in area of informatics/software engineering)

• M.Eng., Chemical Engineering/Chemical Warfare Defense, Jaroslaw Dabrowski Military University of Technology in Warsaw, Japan, 2004 (in area of individual and collective protection against NBC weapons, supervisor: Dr Henryk Grajek)

Positions and Appointments

• 2015-: Senior Lecturer in Physics (full time, research/teaching position, Level C)School of Engineering and Information Technology, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

• 2011-2014: Curtin Senior Research Fellow (full time, research only position, Level C)Department of Chemistry, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

• 2007-2011: Senior Research Fellow (full-time, research-only position, Level B), Department of Applied Physics, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

• 2007: University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellow (full time, research only position, Level A), School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

• 2004 – 2006: Assistant Professor (full time, research only position), Soft-Condensed Matter Group, Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland

 Fellowships and Memberships

• Fellow, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (2014)

Teaching area

Teaching Philosophy and Goals

I base my teaching on the belief that the only way to learn physics is a deep understanding of the fundamental physical laws. A quote by Feynman has profound impact on my learning style and shaped my teaching philosophy: You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you are finished, you will know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let us look at the bird and see what it is doing – that is what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something”. I truly believe that the real learning comes from a deep understanding of the key physics concepts and principles. I do not believe that doing only assignments allowed students to develop understanding of physics principles and problem solving skills. Here, I see myself as an idea-stimulator and trainer for my students, helping them thorough in-class active learning on workshops and computational laboratories.

My goals in teaching physics are not just to transfer my knowledge, expertise and skills to students, but to promote self-learning via inspiration, solving of practical problems and showing the impact of the fundamental physical laws on the development of modern technologies. I always keep in mind that the student can only learn up to ~10% of the learning material by attending lectures and workshops. Thus, my role is to use inspiration and curiosity as motivators for independent study of learning materials by the students. In addition, I try to help students see coherent picture of physics, where different concepts and laws can be expressed using the same abstract mathematical formalism. Symmetry and simplifications are the real beauty of physics, as Einstein pointed out: “I have deep faith that the principle of the universe will be beautiful and simple”.  

Courses Taught

Since Ph.D. completion in 2004, I have taught a wide variety of courses for students at different proficiency levels. As a part of the teaching teams (employed on research-only positions), I taught Nanotechnology Practice (ONPS2156), Advance Materials (MIET1200) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2009, Materials Chemistry (231), Advanced material Chemistry (231) at the Curtin University in 2011 and 2014.

In Murdoch, at the undergraduate level, I have taught and coordinated the General Physics (internal: PEN120 bridging unit, external and the Open University Australia: OSCI16), the Principles of Physics (internal: PEN152 unit, external and the Open University Australia: OSCI19).  As a part of the teaching team, I have also worked as laboratory demonstrator and tutor in workshops.

Supervision

Undergraduate projects (Chemical Research methods 362, 2013):
• Stephanie Joseph: ”Deformation of carbonaceous materials upon carbon dioxide adsorption”, Curtin University
• Persia Walker: ”Quantum sieving of hydrogen isotope separation using exotic carbon nanostructures”, Curtin University.

Research areas

A central focus of my research program is to develop simulation methods and representative samples of porous materials that reveal, with new depth, the mechanistic details of confinement effects that are central to molecular separations and catalysis. The nature of this effort is three-fold: firstly, we have worked from the foundation of rigorous quantum statistical mechanics and semiclassical dynamics to developed molecular simulation techniques that significantly expand the scope and reliability of condensed-phase quantum equilibrium and dynamics simulations in restricted geometries at finite temperatures. Secondly, we have overcome limitations in atomistic reconstruction of porous materials to dramatically improve the description of poroelastic properties of materials with heterogeneous structure of micropores. And finally, we have played a leading role in the application of such methods to elucidate genuinely complex systems, including quantum-effect-induced sieving and freezing of quantum particles in restricted geometries, hydrogen and methane storage by physisorption, adsorption-induced deformation of microporous carbons, and adsorptive/perm-selective separations of fluid mixtures.

Research Webpage: http://www.pkowalczyk.com/

Current projects

• Designing targeted carbon sieve structures for hydrogen isotope separation (in collaboration with Shinshu University, Japan).

• Nanopore controlled synthetic carbons for interfacial separations and catalysis (in collaboration with Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland, and Rutgers University, USA).

• Quantum-mediated freezing and melting of hydrogen isotopes in nanopores (in collaboration with California Institute of Technology, USA, and Shinshu University, Japan).

 • Metal oxides-doped nanoporous carbon for electrochemical supercapacitors (in collaboration with Rutgers University, USA).

Awards and grants

Grants

• (2016) Equipment Grant Scheme (SEIT), Kowalczyk, Ultrasonic nozzle system ($9,000)

• (2016) Collaborative Research Grants (SEIT), Kowalczyk, Deditius, Minakshi Sundaram, Metal oxides-doped nanoporous carbon for electrochemical supercapacitors ($7,000)

• (2016) NCMAS projectNCI Australia, Kowalczyk, Designing targeted carbon sieve structures for hydrogen isotope separation ($37,000)

• (2016-2017) Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme Projects funded 2016-2017, Schröder-Turk, Kowalczyk, Mecke, Confinement and adsorption of complex fluid in biology and materials  ($46,000)

• (2015) NCMAS project, NCI Australia, Kowalczyk, Quantum-mediated freezing and melting of hydrogen isotopes in nanopores ($45,000)

• (2015) New Staff Start-up Grant Scheme (SEIT NSSG), Kowalczyk, Nanopore controlled synthetic carbons for interfacial separations and catalysis ($20,000)

• (2015-2016) Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Invitation Fellowships (Short-term), Kowalczyk, Quantum molecular dynamics designing of highly selective nanopores for H2-D2 mixtures ($7,600)

• (2011-2014) Curtin Senior Research Fellowship, Kowalczyk, Thermodynamics and kinetics of multi-component greenhouse gas mixtures in Nanoconfinement ($430,000)

• (2011-2012) Australian Academy of Science (scientific visits to Japan grants), Kowalczyk, Design of Optimum Carbon Nanocapsules for Methane Hydrates with Experimentally-Supported Molecular Modelling Technique ($6,800)

• (2007-2009) The University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Kowalczyk, Supercritical Gas Storage Using Nanoporous Materials ($182,000)

• (2007-2009) Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, Kowalczyk, Supercritical Gas Storage Using Nanoporous Materials ($103,000)

Events and speaking engagements

• Keynote Speech, Royal Institute of Chemistry National Congress (Adelaide, 2014), Carbon Molecular Sieves: Reconstruction of Atomistic Structural Models with Experimental Constraints (http://www.ozcarbon2014.net/keynote-speakers.php)

 

Publications

Journals

  • Kowalczyk, P., Balzer, C., Reichenauer, G., Terzyk, A., Gauden, P., Neimark, A., (2016), Using in-situ adsorption dilatometry for assessment of micropore size distribution in monolithic carbons, Carbon, 103, , pages 263 - 272.
  • Terzyk, A., Furmaniak, S., Wisniewski, M., Werengowska-Ciecwierz, K., Gauden, P., Kowalczyk, P., (2016), New findings on the influence of carbon surface curvature on energetics of benzene adsorption from gaseous phase, Chemical Physics Letters, 645, , pages 157 - 163.
  • Gauden, P., Furmaniak, S., Wloch, J., Terzyk, A., Zielinski, W., Kowalczyk, P., Kurzawa, J., (2016), The influence of geometric heterogeneity of closed carbon nanotube bundles on benzene adsorption from the gaseous phase-Monte Carlo simulations, Adsorption, 22, 4-6, pages 639 - 651.
  • Furmaniak, S., Gauden, P., Terzyk, A., Kowalczyk, P., (2016), Gyroidal nanoporous carbons - Adsorption and separation properties explored using computer simulations, Condensed Matter Physics, 19, 1, pages 1 - 14.
  • Furmaniak, S., Terzyk, A., Gauden, P., Wloch, J., Kowalczyk, P., Werengowska-Ciecwierz, K., Wisniewski, M., Harris, P., (2015), To what extent can mutual shifting of folded carbonaceous walls in slit-like pores affect their adsorption properties?, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 28, 1, pages -.
  • Furmaniak, S., Wisniewski, M., Werengowska-Ciecwierz, K., Terzyk, A., Hata, K., Gauden, P., Kowalczyk, P., Szybowicz, M., (2015), Water at Curved Carbon Surface: Mechanisms of Adsorption Revealed by First Calorimetric Study, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials, Interfaces and Hard Matter, 2015, 119, pages 2703 - 2715.
  • Kowalczyk, P., Terzyk, A., Gauden, P., Furmaniak, S., Kaneko, K., Miller, T., (2015), Nuclear Quantum Effects in the Layering and Diffusion of Hydrogen Isotopes in Carbon Nanotubes, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 6, 17, pages 3367 - 3372.
  • Kowalczyk, P., Terzyk, A., Gauden, P., Furmaniak, S., Pantatosaki, E., Papadopoulos, G., (2015), Intrinsic D2/H2 Selectivity of NaX Zeolite: Interplay between Adsorption and Kinetic Factors, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials, Interfaces and Hard Matter, 119, 27, pages 15373 - 15380.
  • Furmaniak, S., Koter, S., Terzyk, A., Gauden, P., Kowalczyk, P., Rychlicki, G., (2015), New insights into the ideal adsorbed solution theory, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 17, 11, pages 7232 - 7247.
  • Kowalczyk, P., Ciach, A., Terzyk, A., Gauden, P., Furmaniak, S., (2015), Effects of Critical Fluctuations on Adsorption-Induced Deformation of Microporous Carbons, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials, Interfaces and Hard Matter, 119, , pages 6111 - 6120.
  • Wisniewski, M., Furmaniak, S., Terzyk, A., Gauden, P., Kowalczyk, P., (2015), Properties of Phenol Confined in Realistic Carbon Micropore Model Experiment and Simulation, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials, Interfaces and Hard Matter, 119, 34, pages 19987 - 19995.

Please use my public home page and profile at Google Scholar to find the list of publications and citations:

http://www.pkowalczyk.com/

http://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=xKEon_QAAAAJ&hl=en