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).


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

Fellow, Higher Education Academy


Nanocomposites based on magnesium-oxide/aluminum-nitride/polypropylene for HVDC cable insulation
Lin Xiaosi, Siew WH, Given Martin, Liggat John, He Jinliang
2020 IEEE International Conference on High Voltage Engineering and Application 2020 IEEE International Conference on Voltage Engineering and Application (2020)
Effect of different surface treatment agents on the physical chemistry and electrical properties of polyethylene nano-alumina nanocomposites
Duan Xuhui, Siew Wah Hoon, Given Martin, Liggat John, He Jinliang
IET High Voltage (2020)
Photo-oxidation of poly(ethylene terephthalate) films intended for photovoltaic backsheet
Horne Fiona J, Liggat John J, MacDonald William A, Sankey Stephen W
Journal of Applied Polymer Science Vol 137 (2020)
Oxidative and non-oxidative degradation of a TDI-based polyurethane foam : volatile product and condensed phase characterisation by FTIR and solid state 13C NMR spectroscopy
Allan D, Daly J, Liggat JJ
Polymer Degradation and Stability Vol 161, pp. 57-73 (2019)
High clarity poly(caprolactone diol)-based polyurethane adhesives for polycarbonate lamination : effect of isocyanate and chain-extender
McCreath S, Boinard P, Boinard E, Gritter P, Liggat JJ
International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives Vol 86, pp. 84-97 (2018)
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)

More publications

Professional activities

R&D Management Conference 2020 (Event)
Polymer Degradation Discussion Group Conference 2019
To be assigned
Engage Week 2019 Workshop: The Chemistry Clinic
Engage Week 2019 Workshop: The Chemistry-Marketing Clinic
Engage with Strathclyde 2018
Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association (External organisation)

More professional activities


Liggat, John (Principal Investigator) Davidson, Christine (Co-investigator) Markl, Daniel (Co-investigator)
30-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2022
Wagner, Beverly (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) MacBryde, Jillian (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2021
SFC Innovation Voucher with PW Mandaneval: Development of biodegradable fluorescing material
Liggat, John (Principal Investigator)
Award value £4985.90; Chemistry Clinic Programme
SFC Innovation Voucher with BPlasticfree: Development of reusable food covering
Liggat, John (Principal Investigator)
Award amount £4985.90; Chemistry Clinic Programme
Doctoral Training Partnership 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | McKendry, Christina
Liggat, John (Principal Investigator) Cormack, Peter (Co-investigator) McKendry, Christina (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2022
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.
14-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2020

More projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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