Ranko graduated from the University of Essex as a Theoretical Physicist, but then decided to work with real things and obtained an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Crystallography from Birkbeck College, University of London. He has worked at a number of UK Universities ranging across physics, chemistry and materials science.
Ranko is a Senior Lecturer in Ordnance Science and Technology, with a background in both Academia and Industry. This experience leads to his interest in developing cross functional technologies, so that materials of use can be combined into effective delivery systems, generating a product that is greater than the sum of its parts.
With this broad interest in understanding the relationships between materials structure and subsequent usage, he is particularly focused on cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding material systems and then applying that understanding to real-world problems and has a number of areas of research:
- 3D printing of energetics
- Crystallisation of materials from solution, vapour and melt phases
- Polymorphism in organic materials
- Hydration/Dehydration (and solvation in general) in organic materials
- Developing new molecular constructs for safe materials handling
- X-ray and optical imaging methods for materials analysis
- Whole system understanding – from molecule through to product
- Safer manufacturing and distributive manufacturing
- Validation of model systems
Ranko publishes in peer-reviewed journals and is a reviewer for journal families such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and American Chemical Society. He currently teaches Pyrotechnics within the Centre for Defence Chemistry and is also a visiting academic at Chemistry, University of Southampton.
Articles In Journals
- Vrcelj RM, Gallagher HG & Halfpenny PJ (2023) John N. Sherwood: studies of energetic materials, Crystal Growth and Design, 23 (8) 6161-6171.
- Hou WB, Ristic RI, Sherwood JN & Vrcelj RM (2023) Seeded crystal growth of the acentric organic non-linear optical material Methyl-p-Hydroxybenzoate (MHB) from the vapour phase, Crystal Growth and Design, 23 (7) 4862-4871.
- Gallagher HG, Sherwood JN & Vrcelj RM (2021) Microhardness indentation studies of 2-4-6 trinitrotoluene, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 46 (11) 1733-1739.
- Hou WB, Ristic RI, Srinivasan K, Vrcelj RM, Hammond RB, Sheen DB & Sherwood JN (2019) Crystal growth of the acentric organic non-linear optical material methyl-p-hydroxybenzoate (MHB): morphological variations in crystals grown by physical vapour transport, Crystal Growth and Design, 19 (10) 5505-5515.
- Churchyard S, Fang X & Vrcelj R (2019) Laser ignitibility of energetic crystals doped with gold nanoparticles, Optics and Laser Technology, 113 (May) 281-288.
- Moniruzzaman M, Christogianni P, Vrcelj R & Gill P (2018) Ultrasonic studies of solid azobenzene decorated polymer thin films, ACS Omega, 3 (12) 17693-17699.
- Williams MR & Vrcelj RM (2018) Internal temperature and pressure and rate of mass loss from hand thrown smoke grenades, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 43 (8) 825-830.
- Gallagher HG, Sherwood JN & Vrcelj RM (2017) The growth and perfection of β-cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine (HMX) studied by laboratory and synchrotron X-ray topography, Journal of Crystal Growth, 475 (October) 192-201.
- Odstrcil M, Baksh P, Gawith C, Vrcelj R, Frey JG & Brocklesby WS (2016) Nonlinear Ptychographic Coherent Diffractive Imaging, Optics Express, 24 (18) 20245-20252.
- Blair LH, Colakel A, Vrcelj RM, Sinclair I & Coles SJ (2015) Metal-organic fireworks: MOFs as integrated structural scaffolds for pyrotechnic materials, Chemical Communications, 51 (61) 12185-12188.
- Gallagher H., Miller J., Sheen D., Sherwood J. & Vrcelj R. (2015) Mechanical properties of β-HMX, Chemistry Central Journal, 9 (1) 1-15.
- Gallagher HG, Sherwood JN & Vrcelj RM (2014) Growth and dislocation studies of β-HMX, Chemistry Central Journal, 8.
- Okoth M, Vrcelj R, Sheen D & Sherwood J (2013) Dehydration mechanism of a small molecular solid: 5-nitrouracil hydrate, CrystEngComm (Royal Society of Chemistry), 15 (40) 8202-8213.
- Okoth MO, Vrcelj RM, Pitak MB, Sheen DB & Sherwood JN (2012) Polymorphism and Hydrated States in 5‑Nitrouracil Crystallized from Aqueous Solution, Crystal Growth and Design, 12 (10) 5002-5011.
- Okoth M, Vrcelj R, Sheen D & Sherwood J (2011) Hydration studies of a simple molecular solid, CrystEngComm (Royal Society of Chemistry), 14 (5) 1602-1612.
- Burley J, Duer M, Stein R & Vrcelj R (2007) Enforcing Ostwald's rule of stages: Isolation of paracetamol forms III and II, European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 31 (5) 271-276.
- Kellie J, Clive P, Yang G, Beck R, Evans B, Gordon C, Hall C, Harris J, Jones R, Laundy D, Livingston K, MacGregor I, McGeorge J, Melone J, Schmidt A, Slaven P, Vrcelj R & Watts D. (2005) The selection and performance of diamond radiators used in coherent bremsstrahlung experiments, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 545 (1-2) 164-180.
- Murugesan M, Cunningham D, Martinez-Albertos J, Vrcelj R & Moore B (2005) Nanoparticle-coated microcrystals, Chemical Communications, 2005 (21) 2677-2679.
- Vrcelj R, Sherwood J, Kennedy A, Gallagher H & Gelbrich T (2003) Polymorphism in 2-4-6 Trinitrotoluene, Crystal Growth and Design, 3 (6) 1027-1032.
- Kennedy A, Okoth M, Sheen D, Sherwood J, Teat S & Vrcelj R (2003) Cephalexin: A channel hydrate, Acta Crystallographica Section C: Crystal Structure Communications, c59 (11) 650-652.
- Gallagher HG, Vrcelj RM & Sherwood JN (2003) The crystal growth and perfection of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, Journal of Crystal Growth, 250 (3-4) 486-498.
- Vrcelj R, Clark N, Kennedy A, Sheen D, Shepherd E & Sherwood J (2003) Two new paracetamol/dioxane solvates - A system exhibiting a reversible solid-state phase transformation, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 92 (10) 2069-2073.
- Vrcelj R, Shepherd E, Yoon C, Sherwood J & Kennedy A (2002) Preparation and Structural Evaluation of the Conformational Polymorphs of α-[(4-Methoxyphenyl)methylene]-4-nitrobenzeneacetonitrile, Crystal Growth and Design, 2 (6) 609-617.
- Brahadeeswaran S, Bhat HL, Sherwood JN & Vrcelj RM (2002) Sodium p-nitrophenolate tetrahydrate, Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports Online, 58 (6) m290-m292.
- Vrcelj RM, Gallagher HC & Sherwood JN (2001) Polymorphism in 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene crystallized from solution, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 123 (10) 2291-2295.
- Gallagher H, Qi X, Sherwood J & Vrcelj R (2001) Crystal growth and characterisation of KTiOAsO4, Journal of Crystal Growth, 224 (3-4) 303-308.
- Kennedy A, Okoth M, Sheen D, Sherwood J & Vrcelj R (1998) Two new structures of 5-nitrouracil, Acta Crystallographica Section C: Crystal Structure Communications, 54 (4) 547-550.
- Clegg W, Teat S, Prasad K, Ristic R, Sheen D, Shepherd E, Sherwood J & Vrcelj R (1998) An oxidatively coupled dimer of paracetamol, Acta Crystallographica Section C: Crystal Structure Communications, 54 (12) 1881-1882.
- McGee C & Vrcelj R (2022) Additively manufactured (3DP) thermite structures vs conventionally manufactured equivalents. In: 45th International Pyrotechnics Society Seminar (2022 IPS Seminar), Colorado Springs, Colorado, 10-15 July 2022.
- McGee C, Stennett C, Clements J & Vrcelj R (2022) Towards understanding the detonation properties of additively manufactured RDX: Dry powder printed. In: First International Explosives Conference (IEC-2022), London, 22-24 June 2022.
- Vrcelj R (2019) Chapter 5: Pyrotechnics and the environment. In: Energetic Materials and Munitions: Life Cycle Management, Environmental Impact, and Demilitarization, Hoboken, NJ, United States: Wiley, p. 103-138.