I am very interested in teaching and promoting safety in chemistry labs, and have developed the Chemistry degree syllabus to improve understanding of selected key issues in chemical safety, including:
I have the role of safety officer for the Department of Chemistry of the University of York, and am also the current Chair of the University Chemical Safety Forum (http://www.chemsaf.org), which is a not-for-profit group with the aim of promoting chemical safety in the university sector by:
Understanding how hydrocarbons undergo oxidation has become a major concern in today's world. Building on previous work on the low temperature combustion of hydrocarbons, our current research interests centre on two areas:
Automotive engine lubricants play a key role in the transport infrastructure of modern society. The environment that lubricants experience can be highly aggressive, so lubricants contain a complex mixture of additives. For instance, antioxidants help protect the lubricant and hence prolong its lifetime and improve the fuel efficiency of, and hence reduce the CO2 emissions from, the engine. Recent projects have examined the fundamental chemistry of antioxidants and lubricant degradation at high temperatures, as well as the effects of the chemical environment that the lubricant experiences in an engine, eg the effects of nitric oxides formed during fuel combustion, and of conventional and bio-derived fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, on lubricant behaviour.
We are also investigating renewable alternatives to additives used in automotive fuels and lubricants that are currently derived from crude oil. For instance, there are natural sources of phenolic species that can be highly effective as antioxidants; we are examining the extraction of these species and their modification to form commercially usable products.