Shower gel from plants?
A collaboration between the universities of Bath and Liverpool, the National Non-Food Crops Centre and companies Unilever, Croda and Rockwood Additives, the project is called "FR&SH materials" - Functional, Renewable & Sustainable Hybrid materials. It is funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
"It's a huge challenge to formulate sustainable components and new materials that can be used in everyday products," says Dr Lindhoud.
"We are starting from scratch. Oxidised cellulose makes a thicker gel. Then we add a surfactant. Our aim is to get a product that has a nice colour, smell and viscosity." Testing involves passing x-rays through the gel contained in phials and taking measurements of scattered neutrons. Partner universities mix compounds and compare measurements made by Dr Lindhoud to determine interactions between molecules and manipulaltions of them.
"Another step is to investigate possibilities of getting cellulose from waste such as paper, cotton and woodpulp," adds Dr Lindhoud. " That would increase sustainability. It is a new and exciting area for scientists to be involved in. It places environmental considerations as a main emphasis of everything we do."
To understand gel formation between oxidised cellulose with salts, clays and surfactants and to investigate the structure of these gels.