Professor John Liggat

Pure and Applied Chemistry


Personal statement

I studied chemistry at the University of Glasgow (BSc Hons, 1st class 1982) and subsequently obtained my PhD from the University for studies on the thermal degradation of thermoplastics in the presence of metal-ion complexes, supervised by Dr Ian McNeill.

Following post-doctoral research on permo-selective polymer membranes at Heriot-Watt University with Dr Jim Cameron and Dr Ian Soutar, I spent six years with ICI (subsequently Zeneca) at Wilton and Billingham on Teesside where I studied the melt processability of high temperature thermoplastics such as PEEK and PPS, and the biodegradable polymer BIOPOL, with a particular interest in crystallisation behaviour and plasticisation.

In 1994, I joined the University of Strathclyde where I am now Reader in Physical Chemistry.  My research group has a major research interests across a wide spectrum of polymer chemistry, physics and technology, including adhesion, crystallisation behaviour, physical ageing, nanocomposite technology and polymer processing.  One major focus is the elucidation of the mechanistic organic chemistry of polymer degradation processes, particularly in relationship to polymer durability, processing and fire response.  Although a mature field, polymer degradation science is undergoing something of a renaissance, with the field being driven forward by issues such as waste polymer recycling, the need for new biodegradable polymers to meet biomedical applications or to address environmental issues, and the requirement for a new generation of fire-retarded polymers avoiding the use of toxic additives.  

Current projects include investigations on the dielectric breakdown of PET used for photovoltaic devices, the use of surface chemical techniques for characterizing the photo-oxidation chemistry of polymers, the development of novel polyurethane adhesives for polymer laminates and the development of novel fire-retarded foams for the oil and gas industry.  We’ve even made better kitchen sinks!  Most of these projects involve an industrial partner, and my group prides itself on its industrial focus, and particularly its long term relationship with SME's such as Rumbol Products through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme. 

A major analytical tool in the group is Thermal Volatilisation Analysis (TVA) a versatile, yet nowadays little known, technique capable of analysing (in real time) the evolution of volatile species from an analyte, cryogenically collecting evolved volatiles and characterising the individual components by mass spectrometry.  In our most recent work TVA has been re-visited, updated and re-applied to new applications and now has  become an indispensable tool for the study of various aspects of volatiles evolution analysis and characterisation, particularly in relation to our work on polymer flammability.

Recognising the value of synergistic partnerships, I work closely with colleagues across the University for example with Dr Christine Davidson (Pure and Applied Chemistry), Prof Beverly Wagner (Marketing), Dr Daniel Markl (Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation)  and Prof James Thomason and Dr Liu Yang (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).

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Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry, Chatered Chemist, Chartered Scientist

Fellow, Higher Education Academy

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The thermal degradation behaviour of a series of siloxane copolymers - a study by thermal volatilisation analysis
Allan D, Radzinski S C, Tapsak M A, Liggat J J
Silicon Vol 8, pp. 553-562 (2016)
An investigation of potentially toxic element content in beached plastic resin pellets from Kuwait and the United Kingdom
Mandekar Bedraya E A, Davidson Christine, Switzer Christine, Liggat John
BNASS 2016: The 18th Biennial National Atomic Spectroscopy Symposium (2016)
Accessible heavier s-block dihydropyridines : structural elucidation and reactivity of isolable molecular hydride sources
Orr Samantha A, Kennedy Alan R, Liggat John J, McLellan Ross, Mulvey Robert E, Robertson Stuart D
Dalton Transactions Vol 45, pp. 6234-6240 (2016)
A cost-effective chemical approach to retaining and regenerating the strength of thermally recycled glass fibre
Bashir S, Yang L, Anderson R, Basri N B, Saez Rodriguez E, Liggat J J, Thomason J
The 17th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM17), pp. 1-8 (2016)
Strength of thermally conditioned glass fibre degradation, retention and regeneration
Yang Liu, Jenkins Peter, Liggat John, Thomason James
20th International Conference on Composite Materials (2015)
Facile synthesis of a genuinely alkane-soluble but isolable lithium hydride transfer reagent
Robertson Stuart D, Kennedy Alan R, Liggat John J, Mulvey Robert E
Chemical Communications Vol 51, pp. 5452-5455 (2015)

More publications

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Professional Activities

External Examination, MPhil
External Examiner
External Examiner, PhD
External Examiner
External Examination, PhD
External Examiner
External Examination, PhD
External Examiner
External Examination, PhD
External Examiner
External Examination, PhD
External Examiner

More professional activities


FOAM Part 1 - DSRS Project
Boulougouris, Evangelos (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Vassalos, Dracos (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2015 - 31-Jan-2015
FOAM Part 2 - DSRS Project
Boulougouris, Evangelos (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Vassalos, Dracos (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 26-Jan-2017
DTP 2224 University of Strathclyde | Kelly, Lewis
Minty, Ross (Principal Investigator) Yang, Liu (Academic) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Kelly, Lewis (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 01-Jan-2027
KTP - Coolside Ltd. Project will embed knowledge to enable product lifecycle optimisation and carbon footprint reduction through the design and manufacture of products from recycled polymer-materials.
Sillars, Fiona (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) MacBryde, Jillian (Co-investigator) Marrocco, Tiziana (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 30-Jan-2025
PhD Studentship with Terumo Aortic: Ageing of Vascular Grafts
Liggat, John (Principal Investigator)
03-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2026
DTP 2224 University of Strathclyde | Corrigan, Alan
Cormack, Peter (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Corrigan, Alan (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2026

More projects

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Professor John Liggat
Pure and Applied Chemistry

Tel: 548 4351