Skip to content

Francis Clegg

Dr Francis Clegg BSc Hons, PhD, MRSC, FHEA

Senior Research Fellow


Francis Clegg graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 1994 with a degree in Applied Chemistry and continued at the same establishment within MERI to complete a PhD in 1998 involving the physicochemical properties of organo-mineral interactions.

After one year in the Chemical and Process Engineering Department at the University of Newcastle, Francis returned to MERI in 1999 to further his research in organo-mineral interactions with particular emphasis on polymer (nano)composites.

  • About

    As a Senior Research Fellow and chemist at heart, Francis's current research interests are fulfilled within several polymer and composite projects, including:

    • Sustainable and flexible high barrier packaging;
    • Controlled release open wound dressings;
    • Fire retardant composite resins;
    • Polymer membranes and surface modification;
    • Stimuli responsive shape memory polymers;
    • Intumescent paints.

    At the core of these projects is a detailed understanding of the interaction and compatibility of composite fillers with the polymer matrix. This is particularly relevant to the organo-mineral interactions involved in clay-polymer nanocomposites. Complimentary knowledge and practical application of the extensive analytical instruments within MERI (in particularly thermo-analytical) allows an enhanced understanding of the systems and allows further development of the research and novel products.

    In addition to being involved in internal, UK government and European Funded projects, Francis actively engages in consultancy and has worked successfully with companies both small and large, national and international.

    To help deliver on research projects Francis supervises and works alongside Erasmus and visiting PhD research students to offer working experience via a hands on approach.

  • Teaching

    Science, Technology and Arts

    Subject Area/Group: Chemistry

    - Introduction to Inorganic and Materials Chemistry (Polymers and Composites), BSc (Hons) Chemistry, Level 4;
    - Advanced Inorganic, Physical and Materials Chemistry (Heterogeneous Catalysis), BSc (Hons) Chemistry, Level 6;
    - Forensic Chemistry (Materials, Polymers and Composites, and their characterisation), BSc (Hons) Forensic Science, Level 5.

  • Research

    • Polymers, Nanocomposites and Modelling Research Centre
    • Materials and Engineering Research Institute

    Current projects:
    2016 - Present: PF-CLAY - Fire-retardant Nanocomposites for Aircraft Interior Applications. Innovate UK grant.
    2010 - Present: CROWD - Controlled release open wound dressings. Funded by SHU Proof-of-Concept Funding.

    Selected/Past projects:
    2011 - 2015: NewGenPak - New Generation of Functional Cellulose Fibre Based Packaging Materials for Sustainability, a Marie Curie Initial Training Network. Funded under EU FP7.
    2009 - 2012: POLYFIRE – Processing and upscaling of fire resistant nano-filled thermosetting polyester resins. EU FP7 funded project.
    2008 - 2011: FLEXPAKRENEW – Design and Development of an innovative, eco-efficient, low substrate flexible paper packaging from renewable resources to replace petroleum based barrier films. EU FP7 funded project.
    2004 - 2008: SUSTAINPACK: Innovation and Sustainable Development in the Fibre Based Packaging Value Chain. EU funded, FP6 Integrated Project.
    2003 - 2006: SUREFIRE – Next generation fire-resistant lightweight structural materials. Basic technologies for Industrial Applications (BTIA) Link programme.
    2002 - 2004: PRONACOM: A Fundamental Study of the Processing-Structure-Properties of Nanocomposites for Industrial Applications. EU funded FP5 Project.

  • Publications

  • Other activities

    - Treasurer (2016) and committee member (2013-present) for the Clay Minerals Group of The Mineralogical Society;
    - Associate Editor for Applied Clay Science;
    - Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry;
    - Internal and External PhD examiner.

  • Postgraduate supervision

    Francis has previously acted as Director of Studies for two PhD students and as supervisor to 6 internal PhD students.

    Past students:
    - Trinh Pham. Chemical/Thermal Modification of Poly(vinyl alcohol) Film for Enhanced Water Vapour Barrier Properties. 2016.
    - Khairuddin. Clay poly(vinyl alcohol)(PVOH) nanocomposites: competitive and synergistic adsorption of PVOH and plasticisers onto Na-bentonite. 2012.

Share this page

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?