Charles Darko

Charles Darko, MIMMM, FHEA, CEng, PhD, M.Sc, BSc (Hons), PGCertHE, PGCertSec, QTS


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Personal profile


Charles completed his PhD in Experimental Polymer Physics (Dr Rer. Nat.) at the Physik Department of the Technical University Munich, Germany (2008), where he worked on nanostructured polymer thin films. He worked on the nano-fabrication and characterization of diblock copolymers thin films using Synchrotron Grazing Incidence Small- and Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering (GISAXS & GIWAXS) to probe the internal mesophase structures as well as using microscopic techniques for investigating the resulting surface morphologies. He worked with several beamlines including BW2 & BW4 at DESY, Hamburg and D1 at CHESS, Cornell USA, and has also used other X-techniques at Risoe National Laboratory, Denmark.

Before his PhD studies, Charles completed his MSc degree in Applied Polymer Science from the Martin-Luther University, Halle, Germany (2005) where he studied the Synthesis, Physics, Testing and Processing of Polymers. During his Master's studies, his interest in structuring analysis gave him the chance to work at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research and worked on the structuring analysis of the side chain crystallization of microphase-separated poly(styrene-block-octadecylmethacrylate) copolymers.

Charles also has a background in Mining Engineering and graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Mining Engineering from the University of Science & Technology, School of Mines, Ghana (2001). During that period, he studies special topics such as Mining, Mine Geology, Mine Survey, Mineral Ore Estimation, Mineralogy, Ore Processing, & Mine Transportation. He then worked on the slope stability analysis of the open-pit mine at Nsuta Mining Company and brought out the parameters for stabilizing the pit.

After his PhD, Charles worked for several years as a Material Research Engineer at the Continental Tires Research and Development Center, Hannover, Germany (2008) where he worked on the physical material evaluation of rubber compounds. He managed a very big umbrella project as well as being part of other smaller projects and was also responsible for the development of customised test methods, troubleshooting of damaged materials and the management of standard tests in Hannover, Czech Republic, and the USA.

Returning to Academia after several years working in the industry, and to enable Charles to gain a teaching qualification, he obtained a PGCE from the University of Bedfordshire, the UK (2016) where he taught at several high schools. He currently holds another PGCE in higher education from the University of Manchester (2020).

Charles started his teaching and scholarship lectureship role at the University of Manchester in April 2018 where is teaching many courses such as Principles of Polymers and Composites, Soft Materials, Performance Polymers Fibres and Textiles, Deformation Mechanisms, Design Management & Team Project, & Theme Research Project. He has previously taught special courses such as Clinical Applications in Biomaterials, and Control & Design of Polymerisation Reactions. He also facilitated and taught the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Graduate Teaching Assistants for several years about their Roles and Expectations when working at the University.

Even though Charles is currently in a Teaching focus role, he has managed to find the synergy between science and education and developed both scientific and pedagogical research topics that have enabled him to supervise material science and engineering research students. Some of the topics are:

  • Innovative and sustainable ways of recycling and reprocessing selected plastic wastes (i.e. PE, PP & PET) from different economic regions.
  • Analysis and evaluation of nano-scaled surface deterioration on synthetic rubber compounds after bacteria adsorption.
  • Designing polymer science lecture slides to engage students in asynchronous online teaching practice.
  • Assessment of the use of technology to enhance both on-campus or remote teaching in Material Science and Engineering.
  • An evaluation of how students use the Blackboard learning platform to enhance their learning and the possible link to their final grades.
  • The link between Mathematics and Material Science and Engineering.

Charles is an active reviewer for many polymer and educational journals internationally and has written several scientific and pedagogical articles in international journals.

He is currently the Year One manager and leader for the Peer-Assisted Student Study Session within the Material Science and Engineering programme at the Materials department.

Charles has mentored one of the Graduate Teaching Assistants within the Manchester Gold Mentoring program for a year (2021) and has organized several field trips for all undergraduate students to places like Victrex plc, Lancashire which deals with high-performance polymers, The Welding Institute, Cambridge which takes care of complex technologies in material welding and British Steel Works, Scunthorpe to learn more about steel production.

He has a great passion for applying different teaching methods to enhance student’s learning and believes in merging theoretical rigour with practical-based approaches in his teaching. Charles is also a member of the material department’s Teaching and Learning Committee and has assisted in moderating several examination papers.

He is currently a Professional Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (MIMMM) and holds a Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. Charles has also acquired the Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) status.




1. MATS68301- Principles of Polymers Composites (Unit Coordinator)

2. MATS65602 - Soft Matter


 1. MATS24112 - Performance, Polymers Fibres & Textiles (Unit Coordinator)

 2. MATS23502 - Deformation Mechanisms.

 3.  MATS23702 - Design Management & Team Project

 4.  MATS31702 - Themed Projects for Third Year (Unit Coordinator)

My group

Research Projects Supervised

A. Master Thesis Project Supervised

  1. Plisylia Wong Shi Yung. Topic: Innovative and sustainable ways of recycling and reprocessing plastic waste (MSc, 2021).
  2. Mr Anlong Chen. Topic: Innovative and sustainable models for recycling and reprocessing of plastic waste (MSc, 2021).
  3. Ms Li Chen. Topic: The Microbial degradation of EPDM rubber surface in tap water (MSc, 2020).
  4. Mr Zihan Hu. Topic: The degradation of rubber surface by microorganism adsorption (MSc, 2020).
  5. Qihuai Mao. Topic:  Designing controlled/living radical polymerization for teaching laboratories (MEng, 2019).
  6. Benhao Xin. Topic: Adsorption of Biofilms on Synthetic Rubber Compound Surfaces (MEng, 2018).
  7. Mr Benliu Wang. Topic: Physical and chemical analysis of rubber compound surface after biofilm adsorptions (MSc, 2018).
  8. JiaXin Liu. Topic: Biofilm adsorption at the surface of synthetic rubber compounds having different oil contents (MSc, 2018).
  9. Jie Zhang. Topic: Mechanical analysis of synthetic rubber compound with increasing oil contents (MSc, 2018).
  10. Jie Zhang. Topic: Mechanical analysis of synthetic rubber compound with increasing oil contents (MSc, 2018).

Undergraduate Group Project Supervised

  1. James Wilkinson, Janhvi Agarwal, Javier Martin Hermosilla, Jiapan Wang & Leonie Brummitt. Topic: Investigation into the effects of processing oil content in EPDM rubber (BSc, 2018).

Undergraduate summer internship students supervised

  1. Mr Yuezhi Feng – Topic: Creating an interactive online platform to visualize laboratory tensile testing of plastics for undergraduate students (August, 2021).
  2. Mr Zewen Kong – Topic: Modification of formula derivation process in material sciences by the addition of further derivation steps (June, 2021].
  3. Ms Olivia Dickinson & Ms Biqi Su – Topic: The effect of reprocessing EPDM rubber compounds on the mechanical properties (June, 2019).

Research interests

1. Teaching and Learning Pedagogies

2. Degradation at the rubber compound surfaces

3. Influence of filler additives on rubber compounding

4. Biomaterial interactions at the rubber compound interface

5. Polymer crystallization in thin films

Activities and esteem

1. Year One Manager for Undergraduate Programmes

2. School of Materials Academic Coordinator for Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)


Master's and Doctoral Thesis are available on the following topics;

1. Teaching and Learning Pedagogies

2. Degradation at the rubber compound surfaces

3. Influence of filler additives on rubber compounding

4. Biomaterial interactions at the rubber compound interface

5. Polymer crystallization in thin films


Please send your CV to Dr. Charles Darko through the email below;



Social responsibility

  • Undegraduate student's industrial visits
  • Stockport School outreach
  • British Science week
  • Summer School


Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Diploma, Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 25 Mar 2021

Postgraduate Diploma, Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Secondary), University of Bedfordshire

Award Date: 30 Jun 2016

Doctor of Science, PhD in Experimental Polymer Physics, Technische Universitat Munchen


Award Date: 24 Jul 2008

Master in Science, Applied Polymer Science, Martin-Luther University Halle Wittenberg


Award Date: 14 Jun 2005

Bachelor of Science, BSc (Hons) in Mining Engineering, University of Science & Technology


Award Date: 2 Mar 2002


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