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Dr 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 photo-oxidation chemistry of polymers, the development of novel polyurethane adhesives for polymer laminates and the influence of intrinsic cross-linking chemistry on the flammability of ring-substituted polystyrene.  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 Taylor Bowls 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 Simon Shilton (Chemical and Process Engineering), Dr Avril Thomson (Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management), Prof James Thomason (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) and Dr Beverly Wagner (Marketing).


Partial discharge behaviour of biaxially orientated PET films : the effect of crystalline morphology
Tang Rong, Liggat John J., Siew Wah H.
Polymer Degradation and Stability Vol 155, pp. 122-129, (2018)
The influence of diol chain extender on morphology and properties of thermally-triggered UV-stable self-healing polyurethane coatings
Grzelak Adam W., Boinard Pascal, Liggat John J.
Progress in Organic Coatings Vol 122, pp. 1-9, (2018)
Filler and additive effects on partial discharge degradation of PET films used in PV devices
Tang Rong, Liggat John J., Siew Wah H.
Polymer Degradation and Stability, (2018)
A simple chemical approach to regenerating the strength of thermally damaged glass fibre
Bashir S.T., Yang L., Anderson R., Tang P.L., Liggat J.J., Thomason J.L.
Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing Vol 102, pp. 76-87, (2017)
Kinetics of dissolution of glass fibre in hot alkaline solution
Bashir S. T., Yang L., Liggat J. J., Thomason J. L.
Journal of Materials Science, (2017)
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)

more publications

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 2 - DSRS Project
Boulougouris, Evangelos (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Vassalos, Dracos (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Apr-2016 - 26-Sep-2017
FOAM Part 1 - DSRS Project
Boulougouris, Evangelos (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Vassalos, Dracos (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Apr-2015 - 31-Oct-2015
Facilitation of Planned Workshop Approach to Open Innovation
Wagner, Beverly (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator)
The aim of this project is to support the development of Open Innovation capabilities within a cohort of large Scottish Organisations in order to ensure sustainable economic growth in Scotland.
Period 14-Sep-2018 - 30-Sep-2020
The Chemistry Clinic
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Principal Investigator)
Knowledge Exchange Development funding (£10000) supported the establishment of the Chemistry Clinic, a fourth year class where students have the opportunity to solve real life problems brought to the university from industry.
Period 01-May-2013 - 30-Apr-2014
Industrial Case Account 2016 | Dargo, Stuart
Cormack, Peter (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Dargo, Stuart (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 01-Oct-2020
PhD studentship with Abesco Fire Ltd Laurencekirk Business Park, Abesco House, Aberdeen Rd, Laurence
Liggat, John (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2017 - 30-Sep-2020

more projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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