Department of Materials


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

Photo of Dr Noreen Thomas


Noreen graduated with 1st class honours degree in Materials Science from Newnham College, Cambridge. She also studied for PhD at the Department of Materials at Cambridge University on the subject of non-Fickian (Case II) diffusion in glassy polymers. Noreen then joined ICI and was immediately seconded to Oxford University to carry out post-doctoral research at the Department of Materials on hydration mechanisms of Portland cement. She obtained junior research fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford. She then moved to Runcorn, Cheshire to work at ICI’s Technical Centre at The Heath and carried out research on bio-inorganic materials, corrosion inhibitors and novel paint coatings. In 1990 Noreen joined the research department of European Vinyls Corporation (now INEOS ChlorVinyls) as a project leader, developing new applications for PVC and providing technical support for customers. She joined the Department of Materials in 2003 as a Lecturer in Polymer Technology, became Senior Lecturer in 2006 and became Reader in Polymer Science and Technology in 2013.  Following this, Noreen became a Visiting Fellow in 2019.


  • 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: 

  • 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.
  • R. Othman, G. T. Vladisavljević, N. L. Thomas, & Z. K. Nagy, Fabrication of composite poly(d, l-lactide)/montmorillonite nanoparticles for controlled delivery of acetaminophen by solvent-displacement method using glass capillary microfluidics. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2016, 141, 187-195.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.
  • L M Barge, S S S Cardoso, J H E Cartwright, G J T Cooper, L Cronin, A De Wit, I J Doloboff, B Escribano, R E Goldstein, F Haudin, D E H Jones, A L Mackay, J Maselko, J J Pagano, J Pantaleone, M J Russell, C I Sainz-Díaz, O Steinbock, D A Stone,Y Tanimoto and N L Thomas, From Chemical Gardens to Chemobrionics, Chem Rev, 2015, 115, 8652−8703.


 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.