Polymers and Supercritical Fluids
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The groups interests lie in the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) as a new solvent for polymer synthesis and materials processing. This is an exciting area that has lead to collaboration with many other disciplines; from chemical engineers in the USA and Portugal; to industrial polymer producers in the UK and beyond; through to laser physicists in Moscow.

A major part of the group's research is directed towards multidisciplinary collaborations on clean synthesis of new polymers and new polymeric structures using supercritical fluids.


 Examples of Current Research Projects

The overall objective of the REFINE network is to develop new sustainable materials and methodologies alongside training researchers with multidisciplinary thinking, planning and the drive to tackle the challenging demands for a leading European polymer/materials industry.

  • Dispersion Polymerisations

Large molecules such as polymers are often insoluble in scCO2. Thus, the development of stabilisers to aid the dispersion of the growing polymer chain in the supercritical phase is a key area of research within the group.

The key advantage with this process is that high molecular weight polymers are obtained as clean, dry, solvent-free fine powders. Using RAFT control, we have recently created unusual nanostructured polymeric microparticles using dispersion polymerisation in CO2.

SEM image of polymer particles produced using a stabiliser
SEM image of individual polymer particles
Internal morphology of block copolymer particles

If you have any questions regarding;

  • Our research
  • Resources
  • PhD & placement opportunities

Do not hesitate to use the contact details below.



Room B38 School of Chemistry

University Park




telephone: 0115 951 3486              
fax: 0115 846 8459
email: steve.howdle@nottingham.ac.uk        


Polymers & Supercritical Fluids

The University of Nottingham
School of Chemistry
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3486