Processing and degradation of polymers, her main interests are in developing biodegradable polymers from sustainable sources

​Originally from France, Emilie Gauthier came to Australia in 2006 to undertake an internship as part of her Masters degree. She commenced working as a Research Assistant at the University of Queensland (UQ) with Professor Peter Halley. With a background in materials science engineering, Emilie joined the CRC for Polymers (CRC-P) project team in 2007 to develop photo-degradable films for agriculture. This project was in collaboration with Integrated Packaging, where part of her role was to coordinate large-scale field trials across Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. This 10 year relationship with Integrated Packaging gave her the opportunity to engage closely with industry, understand their priorities and work collaboratively on meeting milestones.

As a key member of the CRC-P, Emilie also contributed as a project CI to the CRC Polymers extension of the photo-degradable films project from 2012 to 2017. Additionally, during 2016, Emilie was part of the team that won the CRC Association Technology Transfer Award, and her role in achieving successful field trial performance was instrumental in receiving this award.

In order to further pursue her career goals, Emilie embarked in 2012 on a part-time PhD in addition to full-time employment. For her PhD thesis she investigated the effect of different environmental conditions on the degradation rate of agricultural polyethylene films. 

Industry Engagement

  • Duglalunji Aboriginal Corporation (2018 -)
  • CRC for Polymers (2007-2017)
  • Integrated Packaging (2007-2017)

Emilie is strongly engaged in commercialisation activities as she contributed to patent publications while she was a member of the CRC for Polymers. She has now embarked on a new role working on the AIBN spinifex nanocellulose platform technology, where she is to develop methods with standard protocols to characterise the nanocellulose fibres during the different stages of biomass processing and fibrillation. This will assure consistency in testing and quality control in order to commercialise the nanocellulose fibres for a range of varied applications.

Key Publications

  1. Nikolić, M.A.L., Gauthier, E., Colwell, J.M., Halley, P., Bottle, S.E., Laycock, B., Truss, R. The challenges in lifetime prediction of oxodegradable polyolefin and biodegradable polymer films. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 2017, 145, pp. 102-119.
  2. Laycock, B., Nikolić, M., Colwell, J.M., Gauthier, E., Halley, P., Bottle, S., George, G. Lifetime prediction of biodegradable polymers. Progress in Polymer Science, 2017, 71, pp. 144-189.
  3. Braunack, M.V., Johnston, D.B., Price, J., Gauthier, E. Soil temperature and soil water potential under thin oxodegradable plastic film impact on cotton crop establishment and yield. Field Crops Research, 2015, 184, pp. 91-103.
  4. Gauthier, E., Nikolic, M., Truss, R., Laycock, B., Halley, P. Effect of soil environment on the photo-degradation of polyethylene films. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 2015, 132 (39).