Associate Professor; Textiles Technology Group Leader
0113 343 3757
Clothworkers' Building South, Room 2.10
BSc (Leeds) PhD (Leeds) MRSC CCol ASDC FRSA
Dr Blackburn’s key areas of research focus around the principles of sustainability and how these principles can be applied in the fields of materials science, coloration technology and cosmetics. His research is important in terms of the contribution to basic research, fundamental discoveries, and influence on the direction of the field, making a significant contribution to the scientific community. His research also has significant impact in its application in terms of providing more sustainable products and processes for industry and society. Co-founder and director of spin-out company Keracol Limited.
In 2013 he was made a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Dyers of The City of London, and was given The Freedom of The City of London. In 2016 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Society of Dyers and Colourists for “Prolonged contributions to education and academic research”.
Dr Blackburn’s key areas of research focus around the principles of sustainability and how these principles can be applied in the fields of materials science, coloration technology and cosmetics. His research is important in terms of the contribution to basic research, fundamental discoveries, and influence on the direction of the field, making a significant contribution to the scientific community. His research also has significant impact in its application in terms of providing more sustainable products and processes for industry and society.
Dr. Blackburn is co-founder and director of University spin-out company Keracol Limited, which develops novel approaches to the extraction of active molecules from plant sources, and fractionating and purifying them for multiple applications, both existing and novel. Keracol extracts are effectively applied in cosmetic products for hair coloration, hair care and skin care. Keracol have invented novel hair dye systems that utilise solely natural and renewable materials, providing a solution to unmet needs in the personal care industry, where there is huge consumer demand for personal care products containing natural and renewable ingredients.
Dr Blackburn is co-founder and Director of RITE Group (Reducing the Impact of Textiles on the Environment) which is a non-profit industry association which aims to provide advice and fact based information to minimise the negative environmental impact of the production, use and disposal of textiles and apparel. The Group’s ultimate goal is to drive forward the sustainable and ethical production of textiles and clothing throughout the global supply chain through a number of innovative initiatives.
- Sustainability issues within the textiles, coloration and finishing industries
- Physical organic chemistry of fundamental interactions between dye molecules and polymers
- Dye chemistry, chemical properties of dyes and structure colour relationships, particularly natural dyes such as anthocyanins and colorants used to dye textiles historically
- Polymer chemistry, particularly fundamental understanding of polysaccharide chemistry and cellulose I and cellulose II crystallinity. Also, development of novel methods of analysing and quantifying cellulose crystallinity.
- Extraction of natural products and application in cosmetics, particularly in natural products chemistry; applied research has focused on clean extraction techniques for isolation of actives from plants and the development of cosmetic products
Marketing Creativity and Innovation (DESN2350); Lecturer
Independent Study Dissertation (DESN3660); tutor
Professional Development & Research Methodology (TEXT5107M); Module manager, lecturer and tutor
Research Dissertation (TEXT5116M); tutor
Laboratory Practicals and Case Studies (TEXT5122M); lecturer and tutor
Textile and Apparel Materials and Technology (TEXT5301M); Lecturer
Textile Product Design, Innovation and Development (TEXT5304M); Lecturer
Advanced Coloration & Finishing Technology (TEXT5124M); Module manager and lecturer
Textiles Technology Research Group Leader
(2015) Sustainable Apparel: Production, Processing and Recycling. First. Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles. Woodhead Publishing.
(2009) Sustainable Textiles. Woodhead Publishing.
(2005) Biodegradable and sustainable fibres. Woodhead Publishing.
(2017) “Mild extraction methods using aqueous glucose solution for the analysis of natural dyes in textile artefacts dyed with Dyer's madder (Rubia tinctorum L.)”, Journal of Chromatography A. 1487: 36-46.
DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2017.01.053, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/111112/
(2016) “Study of the morphological characteristics and physical properties of Himalayan giant nettle (Girardinia diversifolia L.) fibre in comparison with European nettle (Urtica dioica L.) fibre”, Materials Letters. 181: 200-203.
DOI: 10.1016/j.matlet.2016.06.044, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/100795/
(2015) “Isolation and extraction of ruberythric acid from Rubia tinctorum L. and crystal structure elucidation.”, Phytochemistry. 117: 168-173.
DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.06.015, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/87252/
(2015) “Sustainable chemistry method to improve the wash-off process of reactive dyes on cotton”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 3.4: 725-732.
DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b00034, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/84731/
(2014) “Analysis of the physical properties of developing cotton fibres”, European Polymer Journal. 51.1: 57-68.
DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2013.11.016, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81245/
(2013) “Isolation and extraction of lucidin primeveroside from Rubia tinctorum L. and crystal structure elucidation.”, Phytochemistry. 95: 105-108.
DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2013.07.001, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81244/
(2012) “The dyeing of nonwoven fabrics part 1: Initial studies”, Dyes and Pigments. 94.3: 592-598.
(2012) “Analysis of crystallinity changes in cellulose II polymers using carbohydrate-binding modules”, Carbohydrate Polymers. 89.1: 213-221.
(2012) “Tress Protect”, Soap, Perfumery & Cosmetics. 85.4: 91-96.
(2012) “Optimizing the colour and fabric of targets for the control of the tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes.”, PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 6.5: e1661+.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001661, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81212/
(2011) “Comparative analysis of crystallinity changes in cellulose I polymers using ATR-FTIR, X-ray diffraction, and carbohydrate-binding module probes.”, Biomacromolecules. 12.11: 4121-4126.
(2011) “Sorption of dyes on cellulose II: Effect of alkali treatment of fibre and dye structure”, Cellulose. 18.4: 1063-1072.
(2011) “Alkali treatment of cellulose II fibres and effect on dye sorption”, Carbohydrate Polymers. 84.1: 299-307.
(2011) “Effect of polymeric additives on abrasion and creasing behavior of Tencel fabrics”, Melliand International. 17.3: 145+.
(2011) “Natural anthraquinonoid colorants as platform chemicals in the synthesis of sustainable disperse dyes for polyesters”, Dyes and Pigments. 88.1: 7-17.
(2011) “Influence of fabric structure on sodium hydroxide release from woven lyocell”, Textile Research Journal. 81.16: 1627-1637.
(2010) “The Combined Synthesis and Coloration of Poly(lactic acid)”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 50.1: 291-294.
(2010) “Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis of crystallinity changes in lyocell following continuous treatment with sodium hydroxide”, Cellulose. 17: 103-115.
(2009) “A custom ink-jet printing system using a novel pretreatment method”, Coloration Technology. 125.6: 357-365.
(2009) Sustainable synthetic fibres: The case of poly(hydroxyalkanoates) (PHA) and other fibres. : 88-112.
(2009) “Preface”, Sustainable Textiles: Life Cycle and Environmental Impact.
(2009) “Alkali treatments of lyocell in continuous processes. I. effects of temperature and alkali concentration on the treatments of plain woven fabrics”, Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 113.6: 3646-3655.
(2009) “The development of indigo reduction methods and pre-reduced indigo products”, Coloration Technology. 125.4: 193-207.
(2009) “Dyeing behaviour of lyocell fabric: Effect of NaOH pre-treatment”, Cellulose. 16.3: 481-489.
(2009) “Effect of sodium hydroxide pre-treatment on the optical and structural properties of lyocell”, European Polymer Journal. 45.2: 455-465.
(2009) “Carbon black reinforced Epoxy Resin nanocomposites as bending sensors”, Journal of Composite Materials. 43.4: 367-376.
(2009) “Sustainable textiles: Life cycle and environmental impact”, Sustainable Textiles: Life Cycle and Environmental Impact. : 1-394.
(2009) “Sustainable textiles Life cycle and environmental impact Preface”, SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES. 98: XXI-XXII.
(2008) “Erratum: Dyeing behaviour of lyocell fabric: Effect of fibrillation (Coloration Technology (2007) vol. 123 (387))”, Coloration Technology. 124.4: 259+.
(2008) “IR study on hydrogen bonding in epoxy resin-silica nanocomposites”, Progress in Natural Science. 18.7: 801-805.
(2008) “In situ analysis of cell wall polymers associated with phloem fibre cells in stems of hemp, Cannabis sativa L.”, Planta. 228.1: 1-13.
(2008) “Effect of solid particle loading on nucleophilic addition of epoxy-resin to isophorone diisocyanate”, Particuology. 6.1: 24-29.
(2007) “Dyeing behaviour of lyocell fabric: Effect of fibrillation”, Coloration Technology. 123.6: 387-393.
(2007) “Electrical conductivity of epoxy resin-carbon black-silica nanocomposites: Effect of silica concentration and analysis of polymer curing reaction by FTIR”, Scripta Materialia. 57.10: 949-952.
(2007) “Influence of laser irradiation on the optical and structural properties of poly(ethylene terephthalate) fibres”, OPT LASER TECHNOL. 39.7: 1301-1309.
(2007) “Effect of carbon black concentration on electrical conductivity of epoxy resin-carbon black-silica nanocomposites”, Journal of Materials Science. 42.18: 7861-7865.
(2007) “Sorption of chlorhexidine on cellulose: Mechanism of binding and molecular recognition”, Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 111.30: 8775-8784.
(2007) “Carbon based conductive polymer composites”, Journal of Materials Science. 42.10: 3408-3418.
(2007) “Effect of Silica on the Electrical Properties of Epoxy of Phenolic Resin/carbon Black/silica Composite Coating”, Materials Science Forum. 546-549: 1525-1530.
(2007) “Effect of silica concentration on electrical conductivity of epoxy resin-carbon black-silica nanocomposites”, Scripta Materialia. 56.7: 581-584.
(2006) “Abrasion phenomena in twill Tencel fabric”, Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 102.2: 1391-1398.
(2006) “Mechanism of cross-linking of Tencel woven fabric for superior easy-care properties and analysis using fluorescence microscopy”, Lenzinger Berichte. 85: 113-123.
(2006) “Mechanism of crosslinking tencel woven fabric for superior easy-care properties and analysis using fluorescence microscopy”, Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 101.4: 2154-2161.
(2006) “Sorption of poly(hexamethylenebiguanide) on cellulose: Mechanism of binding and molecular recognition”, Langmuir. 22.13: 5636-5644.
(2006) “Tensile and elastic behavior of tencel continuous filaments”, Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 99.4: 1496-1503.
(2006) “Effect of D-isomer concentration on the coloration properties of poly(lactic acid)”, DYES PIGMENTS. 70.3: 251-258.
(2004) “Natural polysaccharides and their interactions with dye molecules: applications in effluent treatment.”, Environmental science & technology. 38.18: 4905-4909.
(2004) “Coloration, dyeing characteristics and performance of Ingeo fibre: Comparison of high melt and low melt poly(lactic acid)”, Polymer Preprints. 45.2: 600-601.
(2004) “Green chemistry methods in sulfur dyeing: application of various reducing D-sugars and analysis of the importance of optimum redox potential.”, Environmental science & technology. 38.14: 4034-4039.
(2004) “Life cycle analysis of cotton towels: impact of domestic laundering and recommendations for extending periods between washing”, GREEN CHEM. 6.7: G59-G61.
(2003) “Treatment of cellulose with cationic, nucleophilic polymers to enable reactive dyeing at neutral pH without electrolyte addition”, J APPL POLYM SCI. 89.4: 1026-1031.
(2002) “A greener approach to cotton dyeings with excellent wash fastness”, GREEN CHEM. 4.1: 47-52.
(2002) “A greener approach to cotton dyeings. Part 2: application of 1 : 2 metal complex acid dyes”, GREEN CHEM. 4.3: 261-265.
(2000) “Dyeing cotton/polyamide blend fabrics with 1 : 2 metal complex acid dyes”, TEXT CHEM COLOR AM D. 32.12: 44-48.
(2000) “Aftertreatment of acid dyes on conventional nylon 6.6 with a commercial syntan/cation system. Part 3: Improvements to the Fixogene AC system”, J SOC DYERS COLOUR. 116.1: 3-9.
(1999) “Aftertreatment of 1 : 2 metal-complex acid dyes on conventional and microfibre nylon 6.6 with a commercial syntan/cation system. Part 2: Repeated washing”, J SOC DYERS COLOUR. 115.3: 102-105.
(1999) “The Dyeing of Silk with Reactive Dyes, Part 1: Realan Dyes”, Advances in Colour Science and Technology. 2: 109-113.
(1998) “The application of cationic fixing agents to cotton dyed with direct dyes under different pH conditions”, J SOC DYERS COLOUR. 114.11: 317-320.
(1998) “Aftertreatment of 1 : 2 metal complex acid dyes on conventional and microfibre nylon 6.6 with a commercial syntan/cation system”, J SOC DYERS COLOUR. 114.3: 96-100.
(2015) “Technical design for recycling of clothing”, In: Sustainable Apparel: Production, Processing and Recycling. 187-198
(2008) “Poly(lactic acid) fibers (PLA)”, In: Deopura BL; Alagirusamy R; Joshi M; Gupta B (eds.) Polyesters and polyamides. Woodhead Publishing. 140-170
(2005) “Introduction”, In: Blackburn RS (eds.) Biodegradable and Sustainable Fibres. Woodhead Publishing. xv-xxii
(2005) “Poly(lactic acid) fibers”, In: Blackburn RS (eds.) Biodegradable and sustainable fibres. Woodhead Publishing. 191-220
(2005) “Poly(hydroxyalkanoates) and poly(caprolactone)”, In: Blackburn RS (eds.) Biodegradable and sustainable fibres. Woodhead Publishing. 221-244
(2017) Scalable anthocyanin extraction and purification methods for industrial applications. 9th International Workshop on Anthocyanins Proceedings: Abstracts of the 9th International Workshop on Anthocyanins : 43-43.
(2016) Extraction, separation and purification of phlorotannins from British seaweed for highvalue applications. High Value Products from Algae
(2016) Industrial application of anthocyanins extracted from food waste. 20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference
(2016) The route to fluorine-free repellent coatings in outdoor apparel: Consumer use, maintenance and physiological comfort. 20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference
(2016) Sustainable high-performance fibers from Himalayan giant nettle (Girardinia diversifolia L.). 20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference American Chemical Society.
(2016) Sustainability challenges of the textile and dyeing industries - opportunities for innovation. Innovations in Chemistry Towards Sustainable Urban Living
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/99887/
(2015) Degradation Products of the Glycosidic Components in Rubia tinctorum. Dyes in History & Archaeology 34
(2015) High-value actives from fruit waste and seaweed for the cosmetics industry. Advances of Personal Care Formulation
(2015) Industrial application of anthocyanins extracted from food waste. 8th International Workshop on Anthocyanins
(2015) High-value actives from fruit waste and seaweed for the cosmetics industry. Getting value from plants: extracting and purifying high value chemicals. HVCfP Network Workshop.
(2014) Extraction and identification of natural dyes for sustainable and historical applications. Dyes in History and Archaeology 33
(2014) Sustainability Challenges of The Apparel & Footwear Industry and Opportunities for Innovation (Keynote Address). 18th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference
(2013) Himalayan Nettle (Girardinia Diversifolia) as Sustainable Fibres for High Performance Garments (Poster). Nonwovens Innovation Academy
(2013) Himalayan nettle (girardinia diversifolia) and european nettle fibres and their application in high-performance textiles: analysis and comparision of both fibres. 14th National & 1st International Recent Develoments, Textile Technology and Chemistry Symposium
(2013) Manufacturing of Novel Fully Dispersible Hydrophobic Sheet Material Using Biodegradable Material. Techtextil North America 2013
(2012) Natural Actives for Effective Functional Cosmetics Products – a Realistic Prospect? (Keynote Address). 5th SCS Annual Scientific Symposium 2012 Society of Cosmetics Scientists.
(2012) Feasibility of producing functionalized nonwovens for the selected containment of organic compounds. Nonwovens research academy
(2011) What are the most sustainable fibres for nonwoven application?. Nonwovens network 14th annual event
(2010) Sustainable Textile Materials. ECOMATERIALS INNOVATION LAB PopTech.
(2010) Comparative analysis of crystallinity changes in cotton fibres using atr-ftir and immunoassay labelling techniques. 41st International Symposium on Novelties in Textiles
(2009) Combined Synthesis and Coloration of Poly(lactic acid) - The DyeCat Process. 11th Pacific Polymer Conference
(2009) Green and Sustainable Coloration (Keynote Address). SDC Green Dyehouse
(2009) Effect of sodium hydroxide pre-treatment on crystallinity of cellulose II and cellulose I fibres. First end-year meeting of the Marie Curie project 'Shaping and transformation in the engineering of polysaccharides (STEP)'
(2009) Role of green chemistry in sustainable coloration (Keynote Address). SDC International Conference: Sustainability in coloration
(2008) CONTINUOUS ALKALI TREATMENT PROCESS OF PLAIN WOVEN LYOCELL FABRICS: EFFECT OF ALKALI CONCENTRATION. Proceedings: ITC&DC: 4TH INTERNATIONAL TEXTILE CLOTHING & DESIGN CONFERENCE, BOOK OF PROCEEDINGS : 453-458.
(2007) Effect of silica on the electrical properties of epoxy of phenolic resin/carbon black/silica composite coating. Proceedings: Materials Science Forum 546-549.PART 3: 1525-1530.
(2007) Sustainability in Textiles. C.L.A.S.S. Conference
(2007) Sorption and diffusion behavior of alkali-treated lyocell fabric. 2nd International Cellulosic Conference Proceedings: 2nd International Cellulose Conference 2nd International Cellulose Conference.
(2007) Cotton Sustainability (Keynote Address). Cotton Sustainability Summit
(2006) The dyeing of nonwovens: An examination of the adsorption behaviour of hydroentangled fabrics. Proceedings: International Nonwovens Technical Conference, INTC 2006 : 673-683.
(2006) Sustainable textiles: Definitions, research and development. Green Solutions in Textiles and Fashion
(2006) Comparative Dyeing Performance of Hydroentangled Fabrics and Implications for Improved Sustainability. Proceedings: Nonwovens Research Academy EDANA.
(2004) Sorption of poly(hexamethylenebiguanide) on cellulose: Mechanism of binding and molecular recognition.. Proceedings: ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 228: U356-U356.
(2003) Green Colour Chemistry. Proceedings: World Universities Network Exellence in Green Chemistry Symposium, San Francisco, USA World Universities Network Exellence in Green Chemistry Symposium, San Francisco, USA.
(2003) Green Chemistry to Treat Effluent. Proceedings: Abstracts of papers of the 39th IUPAC Congress and 86th Conference of the Canadian Society for Chemistry, Ottawa, Canada Abstracts of papers of the 39th IUPAC Congress and 86th Conference of the Canadian Society for Chemistry, Ottawa, Canada.
(2003) Natural polysaccharides and their interactions with dye molecules: Applications in effluent treatment.. Proceedings: ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 225: U262-U262.
(2003) Green chemistry in effluent treatment. Proceedings: ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 225: U980-U980.
(2002) Observations on the UK-TO Wash Fastness Testing Protocol. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2002 American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists International Conference & Exhibition Proceedings of the 2002 American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists International Conference & Exhibition.
(2001) Pre-treatment of cotton to facilitate Part 1: Dyeing with acid dyes, Part 2: No salt, no alkali dyeing with reactive dyes. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2001 6th Asian Textile Conference, Hong Kong Proceedings of the 2001 6th Asian Textile Conference, Hong Kong.
(2000) Dyeing cotton/polyamide blend fabrics with 1:2 metal complex acid dyes. Proceedings: Textile Chemist and Colorist and American Dyestuff Reporter 32.12: 44-48.
(2000) Pre-treatment of cotton to facilitate no salt, no alkali, neutral pH dyeing with a range of reactive dyes. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2000 AATCC International Conference & Exhibition Proceedings of the 2000 AATCC International Conference & Exhibition.: 30-41.
(1997) The aftertreatment of 2:1 pre-metallised acid dyes on nylon 6,6 using a commercial syntan/cation system. Proceedings: Book of Papers, International Conf. and Exhibition AATCC, Atlanta, 1997 : 90-96.
(1997) The aftertreatment of 2:1 pre-metallised acid dyes on nylon 6,6 using a commercial syntan/cation system. Proceedings: AATCC 1997 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION - BOOK OF PAPERS : 90-96.
(2010) The role and business case for existing and emerging fibres in sustainable clothing - EV0420. http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?Document=EV0420_9092_FRP.pdf: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), London, UK.
(2015) Ink Composition.
(2014) Personal care composition and methods of making the same.
(2011) CATALYSED DYE SYSTEMS.
(2010) NATURAL HAIR DYES.
(2007) Novel catalytic materials and their use in the preparation of colored polymeric materials.
Research Centres & Groups
Sustainable Materials Research Group (Head)
Textiles Technology Research Group (Leader)
Editorial board for Coloration Technology (Wiley) and Textiles and Clothing Sustainability (Springer)
External examiner at School of Chemistry, National University of Singapore
External examiner at School of Textiles & Design, Heriot-Watt University
External examiner at School of Engineering, Maribor University, Slovenia
External examiner at School of Materials, University of Manchester
PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision
Sustainable Materials Research Group
Dr. Meryem Benohoud (Keracol Limited)
Dr. Alenka Tidder (Keracol Limited)
Dr. Keir Bailey (Post-doctoral Research Assistant)
Lauren Ford (Post-doctoral Research Assistant)
Elisabeth Dufton (Primary Supervisor) PhD (Full-time)
Philippa Hill (Primary Supervisor) PhD (Full-time)
Lucy Cotton (Primary Supervisor) PhD (Full-time)
Muhammad Wathon (Supervisor) PhD (Full-time)
Regular peer-reviewer for leading journals, including Green Chemistry, Environmental Science & Technology, Langmuir, Cellulose, Dyes and Pigments, and Carbohydrate Polymers.