Our work uses a joint experimental/computational approach to develop novel chemical transformations of renewable resources, in particular for the synthesis of sustainable polymers. Experimental work involves molecular and macromolecular synthetic methodology, catalytic processes and catalyst design, as well as mechanistic studies and polymer characterisation. We use computational chemistry as a tool to guide these research targets, elucidate reaction mechanisms and help devise better catalysts.
Sustainable Polymer Synthesis, Properties and Applications
The synthesis of monomers from renewable resources such as glycerol and sugars are investigated to develop polymers that offer an alternative to those derived from petrochemicals. The structure and mechanical properties of the polymers are then analysed to assess their potential for application.
Small molecules Activation and Catalysis
Activation of abundant small molecules such as N2, CO2 and O2 by coordination to metal complexes is investigated to catalytically transform them into valuable chemicals including amines, carbonates and nitrates. Collaboration with the Chemical Engineering Department aims to develop the small molecule activation into a flow process to enable intensification.
Our work is funded by the generous donation of Roger and Sue Whorrod to the CSCT (Whorrod fellowship to AB), the Royal Society (Research Grant Round 1 2016, University Research Fellowship 2017), the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, grant EP/N022793/1).