Our Centre for Water Soluble Polymers focuses on the characterisation, properties and application of polysaccharides and proteins, commonly referred to as hydrocolloids. They are widely used as thickeners, gelling agents, dispersants, emulsifiers and foaming agents in a broad range of industrial formulations including food, pharmaceuticals, personal care and cosmetics. More recently, our research domain has also extended to nanocellulose and other functional materials.  The Centre’s particular interests are:  

  • Chemical and physicochemical characterisation of hydrocolloids, including determination of polymer molecular mass 
  • Viscosity and viscoelastic properties of hydrocolloid solutions 
  • Gelation mechanisms and determination of gel characteristics 
  • Synergistic interactions between hydrocolloids to yield enhanced functionality 
  • Interfacial properties including the ability of hydrocolloids to stabilise emulsions and foams 

We have extensive experience of collaboration with industrial partners, including GlaxoSmithKline, Marks & Spencer, The Findus Group, Innovia Films, Mimica Ltd., San Ei Gen FFI Inc (Japan), DuPont, Unilever, Croda Europe, Seagarden (Norway) and Almac (Northern Ireland).  Also we have long-term collaboration with other HEIs in the UK and abroad. 

The Centre is well equipped and has a range of specialist techniques available to characterise and evaluate the functional performance of hydrocolloids, including:  

  • Controlled strain and controlled stress rheometry. 
  • Extensional rheometry. 
  • Gel texture analysis. 
  • Micro-differential scanning calorimetry. 
  • Photon correlation spectroscopy. 
  • Laser diffraction. 
  • Flow particle image analysis. 
  • Electrophoresis. 
  • Gel permeation chromatography with multiangle laser light scattering detection. 
  • Isothermal titration calorimetry. 
  • Static and dynamic surface tensiometry. 

Other general instrumentation includes: FTIR, UV spectroscopy, fluorimetry, atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and scanning electron microscopy. 

Contact: Dr Jixin Yang j.yang@glyndwr.ac.uk