Dr Melanie Britton BSc, MA, PhD, MRSC

Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry

School of Chemistry

Dr Melanie Britton

Contact details

Telephone +44 (0) 121 414 4391

Fax +44 (0) 121 414 4403

Email m.m.britton@bham.ac.uk

School of Chemistry
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Melanie’s research is at the interface between chemistry, chemical engineering and physics. She has 15 years experience of developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments to probe chemistry and flow in complex systems and has published over 30 papers and book chapters in this area.

Group web pages


  • MA Cambridge University
  • PhD in Physical Chemistry, University of Surrey, 1995
  • BSc (Hons) in Chemistry, RHC, London University, 1992
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry


Melanie Britton obtained a BSc in Chemistry from London University (RHC) in 1992 and a PhD from the University of Surrey in 1995, under the supervision of Prof Les Sutcliffe and Dr Duncan Gillies. Her thesis was on NMR spectroscopy of traction fluids. 

Follwing her PhD, she was a postdoctoral research fellow with Prof Paul Callaghan FRS at Massey University in New Zealand, working on Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the rheology of wormlike micelles.

She then moved back to the UK to work with Prof Ken Packer FRS at Nottingham University, looking at 2D relaxation resolved propagators for flow in porous media. In 2000, she received an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship, where she worked with the group of Prof Lynn Gladden FRS at the Magnetic Resonance Research Centre in the University of Cambridge.

In 2004, she became a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Birmingham University.


Teaching Programmes

  • Year 1-3 physical chemistry courses in all Chemistry BSc and MSci degree programmes.



  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Flow visualisation and imaging
  • MRI of electrochemical systems
  • Non-linear/autocatalytic chemical reactions.
  • Chemical pattern formation.
  • MRI contrast agents.
  • Chemical imaging.
  • Reaction-diffusion and reaction-diffusion-advection phenomena .
  • NMR studies of microemulsions.
  • NMR spectroscopy/NMR relaxation..
  • Rheology of complex fluids.
  • Wormlike micelles/ Microemulsions.
  • Chemical fingering.


Melanie’s group specialise in the development of MRI flow visualisation techniques to probe the rheology and dynamics of complex fluids, such as ionic liquids and micelle solutions, leading to an understanding of the molecular dynamics that underpin their behaviour

Her group also work on methods for designing probes for the visualisation of chemical reactions/processes and disease biomarkers. Using these methods they have investigated how chemical reactions (typically autocatalytic reactions) can couple with diffusion and flow to produce chemical waves and patterns. Understanding the coupling of chemical reaction with transport processes is of importance in reactor engineering and understanding many biological processes

Other activities

  • Member of the Scientific Steering committee for the Division of Magnetic Resonance in Porous Media - Groupement Ampere (2009)
  • Committee Member of the Division of Spatially Resolved Magnetic Resonance of the Ampere Society (2006)


BW Thompson, J Novak, MCT Wilson, MM Britton, AF Taylor. (2010). Inward propagating chemical waves in Taylor vortices, Physical Review E, 81: 047101.

NA Halliday, AC Peet, MM Britton. (2010). Detection of pH in Microemulsions, without a Probe Molecule, Using Magnetic Resonance, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 114: 13745–51.

AJ Davenport, M Forsyth, MM Britton. (2010). Visualisation of chemical processes during corrosion of zinc using magnetic resonance imaging, Electrochemistry Communications, 12: 44-47.

MM Britton. (2010). Magnetic resonance imaging of chemistry, Chemical Society Reviews, 39: 4036-43.

DA Binks, N Spencer, J Wilkie, MM Britton. (2010). Magnetic Resonance Studies of a Redox Probe in a Reverse Sodium Bis(2-ethylhexyl)sulfosuccinate/Octane/Water Microemulsion, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 114: 12558-64.

R Evans, KB Henbest, MA Hayward, MM Britton, K Maeda, CR Timmel. (2009). SQUID magnetometry as a tool for following a clock reaction in solution, Dalton Transactions: 2467-69.

MM Britton, CR Timmel, in S.L. Codd, J.D. Seymour (Eds.), Magnetic Resonance Microscopy: Spatially Resolved NMR Techniques and Applications. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2009, p. 383-98.

AF Taylor, MM Britton. (2006). Magnetic resonance imaging of chemical waves in porous media, Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 16: 037103.

R Evans, CR Timmel, PJ Hore, MM Britton. (2006). Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Manipulation of a Chemical Wave Using an Inhomogeneous Magnetic Field, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 128: 7309-14.

MM Britton. (2006). Measurement of the concentration of Mn2+ and Mn3+ in the manganese-catalyzed 1,4-cyclohexanedione-acid-bromate reaction using redox-triggered magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Journal Of Physical Chemistry A, 110: 13209-14.

MM Britton. (2006). Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Studies of Convection in the 1,4-Cyclohexanedione-Bromate-Acid Reaction, J. Phys. Chem. A, 110: 5075-80.

MM Britton. (2006). Spatial quantification of Mn2+ and Mn3+ concentrations in the Mn-catalyzed 1,4-cyclohexanedione/acid/bromate reaction using magnetic resonance Imaging, Journal Of Physical Chemistry A, 110: 2579-82.

MM Britton, AJ Sederman, AF Taylor, SK Scott, LF Gladden. (2005). Magnetic resonance imaging of flow-distributed oscillations, Journal Of Physical Chemistry A, 109: 8306-13.

R Evans, CR Timmel, PJ Hore, MM Britton. (2004). Magnetic resonance imaging of a magnetic field-dependent chemical wave, Chemical Physics Letters, 397: 67-72.

MM Britton, RG Graham, KJ Packer. (2004). NMR relaxation and pulsed field gradient study of alginate bead porous media, Journal Of Magnetic Resonance, 169: 203-14.

LF Gladden, P Alexander, MM Britton, MD Mantle, AJ Sederman, EHL Yuen. (2003). In situ magnetic resonance measurement of conversion, hydrodynamics and mass transfer during single- and two-phase flow in fixed-bed reactors, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 21: 213-19.

MM Britton. (2003). Nuclear magnetic resonance studies of the 1,4-cyclohexanedione-bromate-acid oscillatory system, Journal Of Physical Chemistry A, 107: 5033-41.

MM Britton, RG Graham, KJ Packer. (2001). Relationships between flow and NMR relaxation of fluids in porous solids, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 19: 325-31.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan, in C. Balan (Ed.), The Rheology of Lubricating Grease. ELGI, Amsterdam, 2000.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan. (2000). NMR velocimetry study of the temperature dependent rheology of butter, semisoft butter and margarine, Journal Of Texture Studies, 31: 245-55.

MM Britton, RW Mair, RK Lambert, PT Callaghan. (1999). Transition to shear banding in pipe and Couette flow of wormlike micellar solutions, Journal Of Rheology, 43: 897-909.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan. (1999). Shear banding instability in wormlike micellar solutions, European Physical Journal B, 7: 237-49.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan, ML Kilfoil, RW Mair, KM Owens. (1998). NMR velocimetry and spectroscopy at microscopic resolution in small rheometric devices, Applied Magnetic Resonance, 15: 287-301.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan, in B. Blümich, P. Blümler, R. Botto, E. Fukushima (Eds.), Spatially Resolved Magnetic Resonance: Methods and Applications in Materials Science, Agriculture and Biomedicine VCH, Weinheim, 1998.

MM Britton, SA Fawthrop, DG Gillies, LH Sutcliffe, X Wu, AI Smirnov. (1997). Matched Spin Probes for the Study of the Overall Motion of Model Lubricants, Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, 35: 493-501.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan. (1997). Two-phase shear band structures at uniform stress, Physical Review Letters, 78: 4930-33.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan. (1997). Nuclear magnetic resonance visualization of anomalous flow in cone-and-plate rheometry, Journal Of Rheology, 41: 1365-86.

MM Britton, PT Callaghan. (1997). NMR microscopy and the non-linear rheology of food materials, Magnetic Resonance In Chemistry, 35: S37-S46.

CR Baldwin, MM Britton, SC Davies, DG Gillies, DL Hughes, GW Smith, LH Sutcliffe. (1997). X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy of some cyclohexyl esters, Journal Of Molecular Structure, 403: 1-16

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