Department of Materials


Dr Noreen Thomas MA, PhD, FIMMM, C.Eng

Photo of Dr Noreen Thomas

Visiting Fellow in Polymer Science & Technology


Noreen is a Visiting Fellow in Polymer Science and Technology at the Department of Materials. She retired as Reader in Polymer Science in September 2019. From 2009 she was Programme Director of the MSc Programmes in the Department of Materials. She taught polymer science, industrial polymers, melt rheology and mechanical properties at masters’ level, and general materials’ properties (metals, polymers and ceramics) and materials selection at undergraduate level. Currently, her research is focussed on biodegradable and bio-derived polymers, nanotechnology and nano-fibres. Before joining Loughborough as a lecturer in 2003, she worked in applications development and technical service for a PVC producer, European Vinyls Corporation (now Ineos Chlor Vinyls) and prior to that as a research scientist for ICI. She has an MA and PhD from Cambridge University and was a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford.


  • MA, Materials Science, Cambridge
  • PhD, Cambridge
  • FIMMM, C.Eng


Outline of main research interests:

  • Biopolymers and Biodegradable polymers
  • Polymer nanocomposites
  • Biodegradable Polymer Blends
  • Electrospinning
  • Water permeability through polymer films
  • Recycling of polymers - particularly packaging & building products
  • Weathering and degradation of polymers
  • PVC applications - foams, composites, novel additives

Grants and contracts:

  • CASE Award for New Academics,  EPSRC, 2005-2007
  • Improving Sustainability of PVC through Novel Materials, Processes and Life Cycle Methodologies,  EPSRC, 2005-2009
  • Assessing the Environmental Impact of Oxy-Degradable Plastics across their Life Cycle, DEFRA, 2009-2010
  • Novel Biopolymers for Packaging Applications, PepsiCo, 2009-2012
  • Advanced Surface Treated, Mineral Fillers for Plastics and Paint, TSB, EPSRC, Viaton Industries, 2011-2013
  • The Impact of Aqueous Phase Degradation Products from PVC Additives on Radioactive Waste Management, AMEC Nuclear Ltd. 2013-2016


Recent publications: 

  • C Huang and N L Thomas, Fabrication of porous fibers via electrospinning: strategies and applications, Polymer Reviews, 2019, DOI: 10.1080/15583724.2019.1688830.
  • Y Deng, C Yu, P Wongwiwattana, N L Thomas, Optimising Ductility of Poly (Lactic Acid)/Poly (Butylene Adipate-co-Terephthalate) Blends Through Co-continuous Phase Morphology, Journal of Polymers and the Environment, 2018, 26, 3802–3816.
  • C Huang and N L Thomas, Fabricating porous poly(lactic acid) fibres via electrospinning, European Polymer Journal, 2018, 99, 464 - 476.
  • Y Dong, N L Thomas, X Lu, Electrospun dual-layer mats with covalently bonded ZnO nanoparticles for moisture wicking and antibacterial textiles, Materials & Design, 2017, 134, 54-63.
  • W Zhang, C Huang, O Kusmartseva, N L Thomas, E Mele, Electrospinning of polylactic acid fibres containing tea tree and manuka oil, Reactive and Functional Polymers, 2017, 117, 106-111.
  • B Tan and N L Thomas, Tortuosity model to predict the combined effects of crystallinity and nano-sized clay mineral on the water vapour barrier properties of polylactic acid,Applied Clay Science, 2017, 141, 46-54.
  • B Tan and N L Thomas, A review of the water barrier properties of polymer/clay and polymer/graphene nanocomposites, Journal of Membrane Science, 2016,514, 595–612.
  • R Casasola, N L Thomas, and S Georgiadou, Electrospinning of poly(lactic acid): Theoretical approach for the solvent selection to produce defect-free nanofibers. J. Poly. Sci, Part B, Polymer Physics, 2016, 54, 1483–1498.
  • Y Dong, J Kong, C Mua, C Zhao, N L Thomas, X Lu, Materials Design towards Sport Textiles with low Friction and Moisture-wicking Dual Functions, Materials and Design, 2015, 88, 82–87.
  • Y Deng and N L Thomas, Blending Poly(butylene succinate) with Poly(lactic acid): Ductility and Phase Inversion Effects, European Polymer Journal, 2015, 71, 534 – 546.

 View central publications database

External Collaborators:

  • Ineos Chlor Vinyls
  • Solvay Advanced Functional Fillers
  • Huntsman Tioxide
  • The Co-op Group
  • PepsiCo
  • A & O FilmPac
  • Manchester University (CEAS)
  • PQ Corporation

Roles and appointments:

  • Assessor DTI Technology Programme
  • External PhD Examiner (Swansea, Manchester & Brunel)
  • External Examiner for the MSc in Advanced Materials Science and Engineering at Imperial College, London.