Author Archives: Giacomo Damilano

Doctoral School on Cement Chemistry in Lausanne, Switzerland

ESR 11, Jennifer Astoveza (first from the right), during a practical session in the laboratory at EPFL

Representing Kerneos Research and Technology Centre (Imerys Aluminates) and the SOCRATES project, I participated in April 2018 to the 4th ‘LC3 Doctoral School‘ hosted by the Laboratory of Construction Materials of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). LC3 stands for Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LCCC, so LC3). The 4-day event was well-attended by PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and professionals from over ...

Read More »

Bacteria! Helpful organisms in the metal extraction world


Mining industry is facing the challenge of finding simpler, higher grade ores. They seem less and less available, so, in order to get the materials we consume, we need to develop new processes to extract materials from low grade ores. Not only primary ores should be investigated, but also mine tailings, which is the leftover solids from past ore processing. ...

Read More »

The colourful coordination chemistry

Figure 1- Different solutions of CuO and Cu2O­ in DESs

During your childhood, have you ever mixed dish soap with oil, vinegar with coffee, shampoo with coke? If not, you have no idea what you are missing! As a kid I was always mixing different liquid products (e.g. detergents in my home, dressings at restaurants) pretending to be a chemist. Mixing things and waiting for the result was always my ...

Read More »

What do you know about plasma?

Figure 5: Plasma gasification (left), plasma fuming (right)

Plasma is the fourth fundamental state of matter in our universe (we don’t know about the states of matter in other universes yet 😉). In simple words, plasma happens when a gas is brought to an ionized state. But is it all there is to it? Let’s see what else can we know! Let’s imagine, on a stormy night, you ...

Read More »

Secondment in KU Leuven: a fruitful experience

Picture of the electron probe microanalyzer (EPMA) of KU Leuven

The Marie Sklodowska Curie European Training Network SOCRATES offers a unique training programme for 15 early stage researchers (ESRs), bundling and strengthening European skills and knowledge through an intersectorial and interdisciplinary cluster of excellence. That is our projects’ nicely put slogan or baseline. In this blog, I will describe how the SOCRATES project puts these nice words into reality. SOCRATES ...

Read More »

Do not waste your waste

Circular economy chart [1]

“Do not waste your waste” was our slogan in the “Zero Waste Management Dubrovnik International ESEE Mining School” of November 2017. The school was organized by University of Zagreb Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering Department and supported by EIT Raw Materials. There was a huge participation of 39 researchers coming from all over Europe (Austria, Finland, Croatia, Germany, Poland, ...

Read More »

Catalysts and Dragons

Credit: 2010 Chemorphesis

“Once upon a time there was a family living in a small town at the base of a big mountain. On top of that mountain a tremendous dragon, unbeatable by any man, guarded the only known passage to the next valley where a treasure was located. One day, the two sons of the family decided to try to find the ...

Read More »

Deep eutectic solvents – A warm relationship

Ionic Liquids and their properties [2]

If you have read my previous articles, you might have noticed that my PhD is about deep eutectic solvents and their application in electrochemical extraction of critical metals from industrial wastes (quite a mouthful, but allow me to explain 🙂 ). Metallurgists and Chemists might be wondering “Why deep eutectic solvents for extraction of metals? Why? I could just use ...

Read More »

The priceless metal: Gold


  “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” J. P. Morgan Why is gold one of the most expensive metal in the world? Have you ever thought about it? As I have been working with gold, I thought, maybe it is a good idea to write about this gorgeous metal. I hope you will be more interested in gold and ...

Read More »

It’s my life


It has been a year since I started my PhD in Leicester. Many people said it would have been an adaptation year since I moved to a foreign country and started living on my own. Well not completely, I have a lovely housemate, Marianna (ESR 2). She helped me a lot throughout this year, teaching me how to be independent (mostly in the kitchen!). ...

Read More »