Chair In Formulation Engineering
The University of Manchester
United States of America
Gordon joined the department in 1996 after 29 years in Unilever Research Port Sunlight Laboratory undertaking research on surfactants for detergents and personal care, with emphasis on surfactant mesophases. He now holds an Emeritus chair, but is still research-active with collaborations in the UK and the rest of the World.
My major objective is to describe the phase behaviour of multi-component "soft solid" systems on the basis of their chemical composition so that product formulation can be a rational process rather than a "shelf-gallop". This requires an understanding of the phases formed by simple mixtures of the constituents, and how these vary with the chemical structures of the components. The phases include liquids, liquid crystals and crystals as well as "complex fluids", coacervates, mesphases, gels and "amorphous solids". Frequently the systems contain components such as surfactants which undergo self-association, forming aggregates when dissolved in a solvent (usually water). These then form liquid crystals at higher concentrations. The major components are surfactants, polymers, electrolytes and organic solutes, including the poly-aromatic compounds that often act as dyes and drugs. Temperature and composition are the major variables that determine the behaviour. Current research involves chromonic liquid crystals, triglyceride/monoglyceride "alpha" phases and triglyceride microemulsions.