Emeritus Professor John Ebdon
Department of Chemistry
+44 114 222 9520
Full contact details
Department of Chemistry
13 Brook Hill
BSc Birmingham (1965); PhD Birmingham (1968); ICI Fellow, Lancaster University (1969-1971); Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor, Lancaster University (1971-2000); Director of the Polymer Centre, Lancaster University (1992-2000); Director of the Polymer Centre, Sheffield University (2000-2003), Professor of Polymer Chemistry, Sheffield University (2000-2004).
- Research interests
Synthetic polymers, or macromolecules as they are sometimes called, have been exploited for over 100 years as components of a wide variety of commodity materials, including plastics, rubbers, fibres, adhesives and surface coatings. Many of these polymers have relatively simple structures and their names are today as familiar as their applications, e.g. polyethylene, polystyrene, perspex, nylon and polyester.
However, there is ever-increasing interest in making polymers of more complex structure, designed to have specific chemical, physical and mechanical properties and high-value-added, speciality, applications.
My research over the years has encompassed many areas of polymer science including: the kinetics and mechanisms of free radical homo- and co-polymerizations; the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to probe polymer microstructure; aminoresin chemistry; the "clean" synthesis of reactive, short-chain, polymers (telechelic oligomers) using ozone; and, most recently, the chemical modification of polymers to improve their flame retardance.
The importance of improving the flame retardance of synthetic polymers is self-evident; most polymers, being organic materials, are inherently highly flammable. We have attempted to achieve better flame retardance not by the currently rather crude commercial practice of putting in flame-retardant additives, but by chemically modifying the polymer, for example with phosphorus-containing or silicon-containing groups, so that the flame retardance is "built in" from the outset. We have also explored the use of chemical flame retardants in combination with nanofillers such as nanoscopic clays and carbon nanotubes to achieve similar ends.
Overall, we have found that our approaches allow the flammability of many polymers to be significantly reduced with minimal effects on other important properties, such as mechanical strength. Although I no longer have a laboratory at Sheffield, my research on flame retardance continues as a collaborative activity with other research groups both at home and abroad.
- Selected recent publications
- “Novel flame retardant thermoset resin blends derived from a free-radically cured vinylbenzylated phenolic novolac and an unsaturated polyester for marine composites”, B. K. Kandola, J. R. Ebdon and P. Luangtriratana, Polymer Degradation & Stability, 2016, 127, 56-64.
- “Blends of unsaturated polyester and phenolic resins for application as fire-resistant matrices in fibre-reinforced composites. Part 2: Effects of resin structure, compatibility and composition on fire performance”, B. K. Kandola, L. Krishnan, D. Deli and J. R. Ebdon, Polymer Degradation & Stability, 2015, 113, 154-167.
- “Flame retardance and physical properties of novel cured blends of unsaturated polyester and furan resins”, B. K. Kandola, J. R. Ebdon and K. P. Chowdhury, Polymers, 2015, 7, 298-315.
- “Fire and mechanical properties of a novel free-radically cured phenolic resin based on a methacrylate-functional novolac and of its blends with an unsaturated polyester resin”, B. K. Kandola, L. Krishnan, D. Deli and J. R. Ebdon, RSC Advances, 2015, 5, 33772-33785.
- “UV-polymerisable, phosphorus-containing, flame-retardant surface coatings for glass fibre-reinforced epoxy composites”, P. Luangtriratana, B. K. Kandola, and J. R. Ebdon, Progress in Organic Coatings, 2015, 78, 73-82.
- “Blends of unsaturated polyester and phenolic resins for application as fire-resistant matrices in fibre-reinforced composites: Effects of added flame retardants”, B. K. Kandola, L. Krishnan and J. R. Ebdon, Polymer Degradation & Stability, 2014, 106, 129-137.
- "Blends of unsaturated polyester and phenolic resins for application as fire-resistant matrices in fibre-reinforced composites. Part 1: Identifying compatible, co-curable resin mixtures”, D. Deli, B. K. Kandola and J. R. Ebdon, Journal of Materials Science, 2013, 48, 6929-6942.
- “Effect of functionalization of phenolic resin on curing, thermal degradation, and flammability behaviors of co-blended unsaturated polyester/phenolic resins”, D. Deli, B. K. Kandola and J. R. Ebdon, Abstracts of papers of the American Chemical Society, Volume 243. Meeting Abstract: 225-PMSE Published: March 25, 2012.
- "The influence of comonomers on the degradation and flammability of polyacrylonitrile: Design input for a new generation of flame retardants", V. Crook, J. Ebdon, B. Hunt, P. Joseph and P. Wyman, Polymer Degradation & Stability, 2010, 95, 2260-2268.