Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Bucknall’s research interests are in areas associated with development and application of polymers and nanocomposites. He also has a particular interest in sustainable materials. He is an expert in neutron and x-ray scattering for advanced materials characterization.  His current research includes using polymers to understanding the molecular origin of polymer deformation and fracture, polymers in extreme environments (high pressure and also high strain rate deformation), inherently antibacterial and antiviral polymers, thermoplastic composites, ecotoxicology of polymers and materials for autonomous oil and gas detection. He is co-founder of the Consortium of Plastics and Sustainability ( which aims to map the future direction of plastics in the environment and global economy.


Following a PhD studying polymer thin films using neutron scattering, he joined the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research (Mainz, Germany) as a post-doctorial researcher. He then returned to the UK as a research scientist at the UK national ISIS Neutron Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (1992-1999), and specialized in neutron scattering studies of thin films. He then joined the Department of Materials at University of Oxford (1999-2004) as a faculty member and taught various courses in polymers and composites. Dr. David G. Bucknall joined Georgia Tech in 2005, initially in the School of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering department and subsequently in the School of Materials Science and Engineering when the schools merged in 2010. He joined Heriot-Watt University as Chair in Materials Chemistry in July 2015.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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    Flynn, David (Recipient), Bucknall, David (Recipient), Baines, Lee (Recipient), Gupta, Ranjeetkumar (Recipient) & Mallikarjuna, Deepak (Recipient), 5 Mar 2022

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)