I am an experimental (as opposed to a theoretical) physicist, and my research is in the very broad field of Polymer Characterization. As such, I am in that fuzzy area in which physics overlaps with chemistry. It overlaps in both an abstract sense (when a physicist who knows nothing about aromatics and phenols tries to apply his knowledge in the field of chemistry) as well as a literal sense (when the aforementioned physicist actually has to talk to and work with chemists).
I use primarily the techniques of light scattering and viscometry.
Polymer characterization is such an incredibly broad field that I should point out that my work focuses largely on the properties of individual polymer molecules rather than the properties of large aggregated or bonded populations. So instead of measuring the bursting strength of a garbage bag, I might measure the properties of the polyurethane molecules of which the bag is made.
But enough generalities!
Here is where we do the experiments (Room 129 of Pursley Hall on the SLU campus). You can see me and Denny pretending not ot notice the photographer as we use a Light Scattering instrument to measure the molecular weight of polyurethane.
In addition to the light scattering instrument, we have GPC (gel phase chromatography) instrumentation using both aqueous and organic solvents.
Here is a list of undergraduate students at SLU who have collaborated in this work, and a list of presentations they have made.
The research has been supported by several organizations. Not the least of these is the Department of Chemistry and Physics itself, but also the College of Arts and Sciences OSCAR Program and the Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund.