Wuge Briscoe reviews this textbook designed to enhance teaching activities

Geoffrey Barnes and Ian Gentle
Oxford: OUP
2011 | 336pp | £29.99 (PB)
ISBN 9780199571185

Interfacial science book cover

Teaching interfacial science within the undergraduate curriculum represents a considerable challenge due to its interdisciplinary nature that embraces a wide range of concepts. Barnes and Gentle have delivered with effectiveness and fluency a textbook that will undoubtedly enhance such teaching activities.

Colloid and interfacial science has gained renewed importance in recent years due to its fundamental relevance to emerging nanoscience and nanotechnology. This book serves as a comprehensive introduction, not only to the key scientific concepts and physical and biological phenomena, but also to the underlying principles of useful experimental techniques.

The book develops in a well-structured manner, following the central theme of the surface and interface. It begins by assuming no prior knowledge with some general definitions and considerations. It then introduces surface thermodynamics, laying the foundation that is necessary for dealing with numerous phenomena at different interfaces between gas, liquids and solids. Finally, it switches from the physical aspects of interfacial science to the fascinating biological interface.

A feature of the book is its skilfully-chosen worked problems that are integral components of the conceptual development. The book is also well referenced, allowing more thorough exploration of some of the topics through further reading.

For dedicated students or industrialists serious about entering the field, this volume should be devoured to gain a good introduction to various key concepts before more adventurous books are sought. For university educators designing undergraduate curricula, different segments of the book may be selected individually due to the relative independence of the chapters. Alternatively it may be used as a reference book, complete with well explained concepts, phenomena and experimental techniques. 

Purchase Interfacial science: an introduction (2nd edition) from Amazon.co.uk