Prof Andrew P Abbott
|Professor of Physical Chemistry|
|BSc (CNAA), PhD (Southampton)
|Tel : +44 (0)116 252 2087
|Research Group : Materials and Interfaces
Current research centres on the area of novel environmentally compatible solvents.
- Royal Society of Chemistry Green Chemistry Award
- Royal Society of Chemistry Industrial Chemistry Lectureship
For current postgraduate opportunities, please click here.
For current postdoctoral opportunities, please click here.
The group has developed a series of ionic liquids based on eutectic mixtures of quaternary ammonium salts with either metal salts or hydrogen bond donors.We have developed a fundamental insight into the viscosity, conductivity and mass transport in all types of ionic liquids. We have shown that the large ion size means that mass transport is limited by the availability of holes for ions to move into. This means that viscosity can be modelled using hole theory and conductivity can be modelled using a Nernst Einstein model because the holes are effectively at infinite dilution. It was shown that classical diffusion does not occur in ionic liquids with ions moving by a series of jumps between suitably sized voids.
With over 80% of organic carbon being present in the form of cellulose, lignin and starch it is unsurprising that numerous groups have attempted to use these as feedstock chemicals and materials. Extensive hydrogen bonding between carbohydrate polymer chains, however, makes the plasticisation of starch and the dissolution of cellulose difficult.
It has been shown that the incorporation of a simple quaternary ammonium salt can lead to a flexible plastic with mechanical properties similar to oil derived plastics. Compression moulding produces a transparent material with mechanical strength which is similar to some polyolefin plastics. It is shown that the material can be extruded and/or compression moulded and these processes improve further the mechanical strength of the samples. Most importantly it is shown that these plastics are recyclable and ultimately compostable.
Medium density fibreboard (MDF) is a ubiquitous product formed from wood flour and a formaldehyde-based resin. The use of the latter component causes some health and environmental concerns and its use is restricted.
It has been shown that thermoplastic starch can be used in place of the thermoset resin to produce materials of similar mechanical strength but with clear environmental benefits. All of the components are compostable and the resin being a thermoplastic allows the potential for remoulding and recycling which has clear environmental impact benefits.
A viable alternative to Cr(VI) has been developed. It offers high current efficiency using either soluble chrome anodes or DSAs. Hard, black or decorative (bright) chrome coatings are possible. Processes have been developed for the deposition of Cr, Al, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Sn, Pb, Pd, and Ag.
Alloys such as Cu/Zn, Zn/Co and Zn/Sn have also been deposited on a wide range of substrates without special pre-treatment. Stable colloidal suspensions can be made and incorporated into metallic coatings to produce hard composites.
We have built 2 processes on commercial scale (>1 tonne) and have 7 further processes at pilot scale (between 50 and 250 kg). The laboratory contains unique demonstrator facilities of a range of metal processing techniques including metal polishing immersion coating and electrodeposition.
The group is characterising the lubricant properties of ionic liquids together with the first in-depth study of corrosion in these media.