Professor David York

Professor David York


Publications:- Patents 17 global patents granted and 37 others filed in the areas of softening through the wash, suds suppressors, spray drying, oil repellency, agglomeration, particle fracture, soluble unit dose, micro encapsulation, nano cleaning and nano particles as anti microbials, energy absorbent particles, suds suppression etc.

52 papers over the last 10 years including 48 whilst in industry. Despite his short history of publications he has a Scopus H index of 14 at present.

Positions held- EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network panel (2008-2013), referee and panel member for 10 years including chair of an IMRC funding panel. IMRC external advisory panel director Birmingham (2004-2008), UCL, Leeds Hub Director High Value Chemical Manufacture, IMRC advisory panel director UCL macromolecular therapies 2010 to 2015, Director of University of Leeds High Value Engineering theme, member of I Chem Eng National research panel, REF panel 2014 member (General Engineering).UK representative on agglomeration for EFCE from 2000 to 2010.

Academic position Chair of Structured Particulate Materials, Leeds May 2012

Honours, FIChE (1991)  and FREng (2007), visiting professor at Bristol chemistry and Birmingham chemical engineering.


Summary. As a process engineer he combined roles as a senior manager with a staff of up to 35 technologists, with a research budget of over £1.5 million. He became a senior technologist guiding numerous technical projects as well as developing training courses and coaching process engineers. He is responsible for a large number of inventions which were translated from lab to manufacturing scale across 4 continents.

Feb 1977 Joined P&G as Process engineer in R&D division in detergent business unit, mainly involved with spray drying. Developed a porous particle for incorporation of high level of highly volatile organic surfactants as part of a move to reduce phosphate levels in detergents for environmental reasons.

Aug 1982 Moved to Technical Centre in Brussels and promoted to group head. Responsible for pilot plant operations and development of a process to incorporate softening ingredients into a detergent brand, subsequently launched as Bold 3 across Western Europe. Developed numerous improvements in this process to increase plant capacity and reduce costs, saving $10million per annum. Developed numerous improvements in suds control particles

July 1978 Promoted to section head in Brussels. Developed the first use of micro encapsulated ingredients for use in detergents; still in use today. Developed and rolled out statistical methods for product quality measurement and problem solving in manufacturing operations which was turned into global approach across P&G. In solving a mal odour problem with a detergent I identified a way round the problem by designing a new, cationic surfactant and worked with ICI to develop the material, subsequently used in both billion dollar detergent brands in Europe.

May 1990 Transferred to Newcastle technical centre as section head responsible for research and development of EU detergent powder brands. Global responsibility for continuous agglomeration; where I standardised the process and increased the pace of innovation. This led to 8 units being built globally to a cost of over $250 million as well as development of 12 different agglomerate particles. Was part of a team of 3 who restarted the global agglomeration conference at Albi, France and has become a biannual event taking place across the world since 1997. For 8 years was UK industrial representative on EFCE working party on agglomeration. In doing this I helped develop a contractor, CSM (now Amcol) to produce agglomerates for capacity reasons which was the basis for its subsequent growth.

Dec 1999 Promoted to Research Fellow. Started an upstream process development team based across Japan, USA and UK. Initiated numerous  inventions; the biggest of which was the soluble unit dose pouch which now has been incorporated into two of P&G’s Billion Dollar Brands and now has a turnover of more than £2bn per annum.

Another large business impact was the development of controlled release perfume micro capsules for use in detergents and fabric conditioners. I led the strategic approach to develop a cost effective solution which involved finding the right company to develop the technology with, finding the right academic support to make the right particle properties and supporting the development through to commercialisation into 4 different billion dollar brands from 2005 onwards. This required solving numerous different technical challenges apart from the particle development itself. It has also guided the search for improved capsule and so I have led work with academics into novel encapsulation systems including inorganic/organic walls for better control of strength and leakage, colloidosomes for controlled release and dual walled capsules for controlled and triggered release of active.

 Amongst other inventions was a pulsed plasma process for producing an oleophobic and hydrophobic surface on fabrics that would remain after 25 washes. The technology was successfully consumer tested and the process was scaled up but the company pulled out of the business idea with a change of CEO. The resulting patents were given to the academic partner, Prof Badyal (University of Durham) to assist his spin out company growth. Other inventions included improved enzyme particles to improve hygiene for workers by reducing dust generation in the manufacturing plants, leading also to savings of over $10m and a low cost processes for making detergents in developing markets, avoiding the typical high capital routes. A more radical invention was the use of nano particles in suspension to remove soils from hard surfaces. This worked well and was patented, was so novel it gained over £1m in academic research funding. Another invention was in using nano fluids is in the area of anti-bacterial agents for incorporation into liquid formulated products.

During this time he pioneered a new way for P&G to work with academia which prevented the company from pulling out of such funding and has become the standard company approach that is being rolled out across the world. As a result he helped to set up strategic partnerships with EPSRC (where he also served a 5 year period on their Strategic Advisory Network) and the universities in Leeds, Birmingham, Imperial College and Durham which has significantly increased the company’s involvement in UK research.


  • Director of High Value Engineering research theme
  • director of spray drying cpd course
  • director of micro encapsulation cpd course

Research interests

Bascially any area where one can use processing alongside material properties to control the structure, and hence properties of particulate systems. This includes;-

Spray drying especially wrt controlling shape size through atomisation, chemical reactions and  micro encapsulation

Micro encapsulation of active species such as flavour oils for controlled release and delivery through a range of techniques from controlled emulsions to extrusion/spinning processes.

Design and manufacture of controlled particle structures through formulation and extrusion/spheronisation processes.

Control of crystal size and morpholgy through interface reactions in controlled geometries using membrane emulsifications and bubbles

Coating of dynamic powder beds with viscous fluids and foams

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc Hons Chemical Engineering

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Fellow of Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Chartered engineer

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Process Research and Development

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>