Professor Andrew P Abbott

Professor of Physical Chemistry

Prof. A. Abbott 2017

Tel : +44 (0)116 252 2087
Email :

Personal details

  • BSc (CNAA), PhD (Southampton)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Research Group: Materials and Interfaces
  • Senior member of the Centre for Materials Research
  • Research Director of a University Spin-out company Scionix Ltd
  • Chair of the Science and Engineering College Enterprise Committee

    Awards received

  • Royal Society of Chemistry Green Chemistry Award
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Industrial Chemistry Lectureship
  • Institute of Chemical Engineers - Green Chemistry Award
  • National Energy Efficiency Award – DEFRA (Scionix)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry - Green Chemistry Award
  • Royal Society of Chemistry - Industrial Chemistry Lectureship
  • Food and Drink iNet - Best Collaborative Project Award.
  • Royal Society - Brian Mercer Award


    Current postgraduate opportunities

    Current postdoctoral opportunities

    Ionic liquids

    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. These so called Deep Eutectic Solvents have been used in thousands of scientific studies across the world. The original papers in the area now have over 5000 citations.

    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.

    We are also investigating the effect of water, surfactants and pH on the physical properties of DESs.

    Metal processing

    Printed circuit board produced using a commercial ionic liquid based silver deposition process. We have coined the term Ionometallurgy to describe processing of metals in ionic liquid and published the first review in this area. We have produced the first galvanic series in an ionic liquid and showed that in some ionic liquids metal salts form ideal solutions. This has allowed the first standard redox potentials to be determined together with an absolute pH scale. We have shown that the redox properties of metals could be related to speciation in different ionic liquids.

    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.


    Photographs of some of the pilot plants and full scale processes using DES

    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.

    Mineral processing

    The Leicester group have pioneered the processing of minerals using DESs. We have found that minerals can be electrochemically dissolved using a paste of minerals with DESs.  The group is involved in a number of projects investigating the recycling of rare elements through the SoS TeaSe project

    We are also part of a European SOCRATES project recycling waste from the steel waste.

    Mineral/DES paste can be painted onto an electrode to study the electrochemistry of the mineral.

    Thermoplastic wood

    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.

    Andy Abbott, Rob Harris, Stefan Davis and Michael Sheridan with sheets of Starboard made using starch as a binder

    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. P. Abbott, F. Endres and D. MacFarlane (Eds.), Electrodeposition of Metals from Ionic Liquids 2nd Edition Wiley VCH 2017.

    1)      C. D'Agostino, R. C. Harris, A. P. Abbott, L. F. Gladden and M. D. Mantle, Molecular motion and ion diffusion in choline chloride based deep eutectic solvents studied by 1H pulsed field gradient NMR spectroscopy Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 21383

    2)      A. P. Abbott, N. Dsouza, P. Withey and K. S. Ryder, Electrolytic processing of superalloy aerospace castings using choline chloride-based ionic liquids, Trans. I. M. F. 2012, 90, 9-14

    3)      A. P. Abbott, A. D. Ballantyne, J. Palenzuela Conde, K. S. Ryder and W. R. Wise. “Salt modified starch: sustainable, recyclable plastics” Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1302.

    4)      C. Wright, M. K. Faulkner, R. C. Harris, A. Goddard, A. P. Abbott Nanomagnetic domains of chromium deposited on vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes J. Mag. Mag. Mat 2012, 324, 4170-4174

    5) A. P. Abbott, J. Palenzuela Conde, S. Davis and W. R. Wise. “Starch as a Replacement for Urea-Formaldehyde in Medium Density Fibreboard”, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 3067 – 3070.

    6)      A. P. Abbott, G. Frisch and K.S. Ryder, Electroplating using Ionic liquids, Ann. Rev. Mat. Res. 43, 2013, 1.1–1.24

    7)      A. P. Abbott, M. Azam, K. S. Ryder, and S. Saleem In Situ Electrochemical Digital Holographic Microscopy; a Study of Metal Electrodeposition in Deep Eutectic Solvents, Anal. Chem. 2013, 85, 6653–6660

    8)      A. P. Abbott, M. Azam, G. Frisch, J. Hartley, K. S. Ryder, and S. Saleem Ligand exchange in ionic systems and its effect on silver nucleation and growth Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 17314-17323  .

    9) A. P. Abbott, A. A. Al-Barzinjy, P. D. Abbott, G. Frisch, R. C. Harris, J. Hartley and K. S. Ryder “Speciation, Physical and Electrolytic Properties of Eutectic Mixtures based on CrCl3·6H2O and UreaPhys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16, 9047- 9055

    10)   A. P. Abbott, R. C. Harris, Y-T. Hsieh K. S. Ryder and I. W. Sun Aluminium electrodeposition under ambient conditions, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16, 14675-14681

    11)   J. M. Hartley, C-M. Ip, G. C. H. Forrest, K. Singh, S. J. Gurman, K. S. Ryder, A. P. Abbott, and G. Frisch, EXAFS Study into the Speciation of Metal Salts Dissolved in Ionic Liquids and Deep Eutectic Solvents, Inorg Chem, 2014, 53, 6280-6288

    12)   E. L. Smith, A. P. Abbott and K. S. Ryder, Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) and their applications Chem. Rev. 2014, 114, 11060-82

    13) A. P. Abbott, E. I. Ahmed, R. C. Harris, and K. S. Ryder,  Evaluating Water Miscible Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) and Ionic Liquids as Potential Lubricants, Green Chem., 2014, 16, 4156–4161

    14) P. Abbott, T. Z. Abolibda, S. J. Davis, F. Emmerling, D. Lourdin, E. Leroy and W. R. Wise Glycol Based Plasticisers for Salt Modified Starch, RSC Advances, 2014, 4 , 40421 – 40427

    15) P. Abbott, R. C. Harris, F. Holyoak, G. Frisch, J. Hartley and G. R. T. Jenkin, Electrocatalytic Recovery of Elements from Complex Mixtures using Deep Eutectic Solvents Green Chem., 2015, 17, 2172 – 2179

    16)   P. Abbott, O. Alaysuy, A. P. M. Antunes, A. C. Douglas, J. Guthrie-Strachan, W. R. Wise, Processing of Leather Using Deep Eutectic Solvents, ACS Sus. Chem. Eng. 2015, 3, 1241-1247

    17)   D’Agostino, L. F. Gladden, M. D. Mantle, A. P. Abbott, E. I. Ahmed, A. Y. M. Al-Murshedi, R. C. Harris Molecular and ionic diffusion in aqueous - deep eutectic solvent mixtures: Probing inter-molecular interactions using PFG NMR Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015, 17, 15297-304

    18)   Q. Zhang, A. P. Abbott and C. Yang, Electrochemical fabrication of nanoporous copper films in choline chloride–urea deep eutectic solvent Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015, 17, 14702-14709

    19)   A. P. Abbott, A. Ballantyne, R. C. Harris, J. A. Juma and K. S. Ryder, A Comparative Study of Nickel Electrodeposition Using Deep Eutectic Solvents and Aqueous Solutions, Electrochim. Acta, 2015, 176 718–726.

    20)   A. P. Abbott, G. Frisch J. M. Hartley, W. O. Karim and K. S. Ryder Anodic dissolution of metals in ionic liquids, Prog. Nat. Sci. Mat. 2015, 25, 595–602

    21)   A. P. Abbott, A. I. Alhaji, K. S. Ryder, M. Horne and T. Rodopoulos, Electrodeposition of Copper-Tin Alloys using Deep Eutectic Solvents, Trans. I. M. F. 2016, 94, 104-113.

    22)   E. Crawford, L. A. Wright, S. L. James and A. P. Abbott Efficient continuous synthesis of high purity deep eutectic solvents by twin screw extrusion, Chem. Commun, 2016, 52, 4215-4218.

    23)   A. P. Abbott, C. D’Agostino, S. J. Davis, L. F. Gladden and M. D. Mantle, Do Group 1 metal salts form deep eutectic solvents? Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016, 18, 25528 – 25537

    24)   G. R. T Jenkin,  A. Z. M Al-Bassam, R. C. Harris, A. P. Abbott, D. J. Smith, D. A. Holwell, R. J. Chapman, C. J. Stanley, Minerals Engineering 2016, 87, 18-24

    25)   Yang, Q. B. Zhang, A. P. Abbott, Facile fabrication of nickel nanostructures on a copper-based template via a galvanic replacement reaction in a deep eutectic solvent Electrochem. Commun. 2016, 70, 60-64.

    26)   A. P. Abbott, A. Ballantyne, R. C. Harris, J. A. Juma and K. S. Ryder, Bright Metal Coatings from Sustainable Electrolytes: The Effect of Molecular Additives on Electrodeposition of Nickel from a Deep Eutectic Solvent Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 3219-3231

    27)   A. P. Abbott, F. Bevan, M. Baeuerle, R. C. Harris and G. R. T. Jenkin, Paint Casting: A facile method of studying mineral electrochemistry, Electrochem. Commun. 2017, 76, 20-23.

    28)   A. P. Abbott, T. Z. Abolibda, W. Qu, W. R. Wise and L. A. Wright, Thermoplastic Starch-Polyethylene Blends Homogenised using Deep Eutectic Solvents, RSC Advances, 2017, 7, 7268-7273.

    29)   A. P. Abbott, A. Z. M. Al-Bassam, A. Goddard, R. C. Harris, G. R. T. Jenkin, F. J. Nisbet and M. Wieland, Dissolution of Pyrite and other Fe-S-As minerals using Deep Eutectic Solvents, Green Chem, 2017, 19, 2225 – 2233

    Share this page:

    Contact Details

    Department of Chemistry
    University of Leicester
    Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK


    Tel: [+44] (0)116 252 2100

    Fax: [+44] (0)116 252 3789

    RSS Logo Subscribe to our news

    Facebook logo Like us on Facebook

    Twitter @leicesterchemistry Follow us on Twitter

    Just click on the logos to keep up to date with our activities!

    Department Video