Polymers, Antioxidants & Specialty Additives

PPP - Polymers Antioxidants Specialty Additives


The behaviour and properties of polymers including polymer blends, polymer micro-  and nano-composites  and automotive coatings, are investigated during  manufacture  and in-service in order to control and manipulate their properties and lifetime performance. 

In the field of nanocomposites, we are engaged in the processing and stabilisation of polymer nanocomposites as partners in a large collaborative European Integrated Project  on ‘innovative sensor-based processing technology for production of nanocomposites and multihybrid  structures’

In the area of additives, we are undertaking basic studies into the i synthesis and characterisation of specialty  additives and their degradation products in order to understand their role and to elucidate their mechanisms of action .   Below are highlights of our activity in this area. 

Antioxidants: Synthetic and Natural

The group has extensive experience in antioxidant chemistry relating to synthetic, non-migratory (graftable) and natural antioxidants and their role in  preventing  free radical damage that is responsible for  the deterioration of organic materials and is linked to human ageing, cancer and  other old-age diseases, with significant knowledge in the physical and chemical mechanisms which underpin their performance  in polymers and other  organic substrates.

The Group has pioneered the application of the biological antioxidant vitamin E in polymers and has made fundamental advances in the understanding of its complex chemistry at high temperatures   thereby paving the way for its commercialisation as a safe antioxidant for polymers  in human-contact applications.  

The development of a new genre of renewable bio-based antioxidants and specialty additives continues to be the focus of our research into sustainable alternative non-food crop resources. Through a number of UK-strategic interdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with industrial partners and crop growers  a number of antioxidants and phthalate-free plasticisers have been developed from UK-grown non-food crops such as crambe and rosemary. This research is continuing with more potential advances in this field with potential to create a new genre of renewable bio-based antioxidants and specialty additives. The extremely challenging area of long-term stabilisation of nanocomposites is  also under investigation.

The group has a number of patents in the field of antioxidants and polymer  stabilisation.

Speciality Additives & Reactive Modifiers

The role and mechanisms of action of speciality additives and reactive modifiers continue to be studied with the aim of developing processes and products based on value-added modified polymers, polymer blends  and nanocomposites covering a wide range of applications.