Nicola has a wide range of research interests in the fields of fire behaviour of materials, plastics pyrolysis and sustainability engineering. Since 2015 she has been a research associate in the Centre for Fire and Hazards Science and has worked on a variety of projects in the field of fire chemistry.
Nicola graduated from the University of Leeds, department of fuel and energy, in 1999 with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Energy Science. Because of her interest in creating useful products from waste she stayed in Leeds to complete her PhD on the Pyrolysis of Composite Plastic Waste. During her PhD she investigated the use of polymer degradation products in industrial applications. Following her PhD, in 2003, she embarked upon a post-doctoral position at the University of Liverpool in the department of civil engineering, on a sustainable construction project to recycle construction and demolition waste derived aggregates into precast building blocks.
During a break from research, Nicola became a qualified teacher, with a PGCE in Secondary Chemistry in 2014, and since 2018 has taught polymer chemistry to third year students.
Nicola joined us as a research associate in 2015, and in 2016, she was awarded a two-year Daphne Jackson Fellowship – for research returners - to investigate the toxicity of smoke from recycling centre fires in collaboration with our Civic Drone Centre. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, she was involved in a large group project to characterise building façade materials (cladding panels and insulation). This work led to a series of large-scale building façade burns on a 5m high rig where she was part of our team that carried out the gas sampling and analysis.
Since 2018, Nicola has been investigating the use of flame retardants in upholstered furniture, such as sofas, and their effect on the environment, furniture flammability and smoke toxicity.
- PhD: ‘Pyrolysis of composite plastic waste’, Department of Fuel and Energy, University of Leeds, 2003
- BSc (Hons): Environmental Energy, 2.1, Department of Fuel and Energy, University of Leeds, 1999
- PGCE: Secondary Chemistry. Manchester Metropolitan University, 2014
- Fire behaviour of materials
- Smoke toxicity
- Waste treatment and sustainability