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Dr Eleanor Crabb

Profile summary

Professional biography

I obtained a BSc. in Chemistry at The University of Reading where I stayed to complete a PhD with Professor Robbie Burch in Heterogenous Catalysis. After a brief spell at Reading as a postdoc,  I moved to the Laboratoire de Chimie Organique Physique et Cinetique Chimique Appliquees in Montpellier, France to work with Bernard Coq and Francois Figueras as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. I then returned to the UK to The Open University, where I have worked in a number of different roles, taking up my current position as a Senior Lecturer in Materials Chemistry in October 2009.

I am currently the Director of Teaching for the School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences and also the Qualification Director for Natural Sciences.

Research interests

My main research interests are in the field of heterogeneous catalysts, in particular catalyst preparation.

Recent projects include:

  • Preparation of mixed oxides as oxygen storage components
  • Development of anode electrocatalysts for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC)
  • Design of reformate tolerant anode catalysts for the PEMFC
  • Preparation of supported alloy catalysts for oxygen reduction (cathode) for the PEMFC
  • Preparation of oxide promoted Pt/alumina catalysts for the preferential oxidation of carbon monoxide in a hydrogen rich stream (PROX)
  • Ceria modification of Pt catalysts for the water gas shift reaction
  • Preparation of bimetallic catalysts for selective hydrogenation

Catalysts have been characterised using a number of different techniques including EXAFS studies with Professor Andrea Russell at The University of Southampton.

I am also interested in educational research, particularly in the use of eLearning to support students and in delivering online practical experience.

Please see the Publications tab or visit Open Research Online for further information.




Teaching interests

As the Director of Teaching for the School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences I chair the School's Board of Studies and oversee the undergraduate and taught postgraduate curriculum within the School. I am also the Qualification Director for Natural Sciences, in which role I chair the Examination and Assessment Board for students on all pathways within our Natural Sciences qualifications.

Prior to this I was the Associate Programme Director for chemistry and analytical science I oversee the Chemistry and analytical sciences pathway of the BSc Natural Science.

I have been involved in the production of a number of our modules, most recently as the production chair for S315, Chemistry: further concepts and applications - our new 60 credit chemistry module at level 3. This module covers all three traditional areas of chemistry and is delivered entirely online. It was presented for the first time in October 2015.

Prior to this I was the production team chair for S347 Metals and Life, one of the predecessor modules for S315, which copublished two texts with the Royal Society of Chemistry.

I was also oversaw the production of many of the online investigations in SXC288 Practical Science: Chemistry and analytical science.  Previously I was a member of the production team on the physical chemistry course and author of a case study on  "The Three-way Catalytic convertor" can be found on OpenLearn).

I have particular interests in online learning including:

  • delivering practical work online
  • online classrooms
  • quizzes
  • accessibility issues

and have eSTEeM projects in some of these areas.



Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)CentreFaculty of Science


Structural, 57 Fe Mössbauer and XPS studies of mechanosynthesized nanocrystalline Nd0.33Eu0.67Fe1-xCrxO3 particles (2020-12)
Al-Rashdi, K. S; Widatallah, H. M; Elzain, M. E; Gismelseed, A. M; Al-Rawas, A. D; Myint, M. T. Z; Al Mawali, F; Al-Harthi, S. H; Moore, Elaine and Crabb, Eleanor
Materials Research Bulletin, 132, Article 111004

In-situ uniaxial drawing of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA): Following the crystalline morphology development using time-resolved SAXS/WAXS (2020)
Heeley, Ellen L.; Billimoria, Kharmen; Parsons, Nathan; Figiel, Łukasz; Keating, Elspeth M.; Cafolla, Conor T.; Crabb, Eleanor M. and Hughes, Darren J.
Polymer, 193, Article 122353

Self-assembly of fluoride-encapsulated polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) nanocrystals (2019)
Heeley, Ellen; El Aziz, Youssef; Ellingford, Christopher; Jetybayeva, Albina; Wan, Chaoying; Crabb, Eleanor; Taylor, Peter G. and Bassindale, Alan
CrystEngComm, 21(4) (pp. 710-723)

A comparison of the radiosensitisation ability of 22 different element metal oxide nanoparticles using clinical megavoltage X-rays (2019)
Guerreiro, Alexandra; Chatterton, Nicholas; Crabb, Eleanor and Golding, Jon
Cancer Nanotechnology, 10, Article 10

Stress-oscillation behaviour of semi-crystalline polymers: the case of poly(butylene succinate) (2018-12-05)
Wan, Chaoying; Heeley, Ellen L.; Zhou, Yutao; Wang, Shifeng; Cafolla, Conor T.; Crabb, Eleanor M. and Hughes, Darren J.
Soft Matter, 14(45) (pp. 9175-9184)

The formation of a nanohybrid shish-kebab (NHSK) structure in melt-processed composites of poly (ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) (2017-05-19)
Heeley, Ellen L.; Hughes, Darren J.; Crabb, Eleanor M.; Bowen, James; Bikondoa, Oier; Mayoral, Beatriz; Leung, Sandy and McNally, Tony
Polymer, 117 (pp. 208-219)

Confirmation of a Nanohybrid Shish-Kebab (NHSK) Structure in Composites of PET and MWCNTs (2017-01-15)
Heeley, Ellen L.; Hughes, Darren J.; Crabb, Eleanor M.; Bowen, James; Bikondoa, Oier; Mayoral, Beatriz and McNally, Tony
Journal of Polymer Science. Part B: Polymer Physics, 55(2) (pp. 132-137)

Understanding the role of promoters in catalysis: operando XAFS/DRIFTS study of CeOx/Pt/Al2O3 during CO oxidation (2017)
Gibson, E. K.; Crabb, E. M.; Gianolio, D.; Russell, A. E.; Thompsett, D. and Wells, P. P.
Catalysis, Structure & Reactivity, 3(1-2) (pp. 5-12)

Structure evolution in poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) - Multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) composite films during in-situ uniaxial deformation (2016-06-01)
Heeley, Ellen L.; Hughes, Darren J.; Crabb, Eleanor; Kershaw, Matthew; Shebanova, Olga; Leung, Sandy and McNally, Tony
Polymer, 92 (pp. 239-249)

Practical science at a distance (2015-07-03)
Crabb, Eleanor
Education in Chemistry, July 2015

Reduction properties of Ce in CeOx/Pt/Al2O3 catalysts (2015-05)
Wells, P. P.; Crabb, E. M.; King, C. R.; Fiddy, S.; Amieiro-Fonseca, A.; Thompsett, D. and Russell, A. E.
Catalysis, Structure & Reactivity, 1(2) (pp. 88-94)

In Situ XAS Studies of Core-Shell PEM Fuel Cell Catalysts: The Opportunities and Challenges (2011-10)
Russell, Andrea E.; Tessier, Beatrice; Wise, Anna; Rose, Abigail; Price, Stephen W.; Richardson, P. W.; Ball, Sarah; Theobald, Brian; Thompsett, David and Crabb, Eleanor M.
ECS transactions, 41(1) (pp. 55-67)

In situ Ru K-edge EXAFS of CO adsorption on a Ru modified Pt/C fuel cell catalyst (2009)
Rose, Abigail; Bilsborrow, Robert; King, Colin R.; Ravikumar, M. K.; Qian, Yangdong; Wiltshire, Richard J. K.; Crabb, Eleanor M. and Russell, Andrea E.
Electrochimica Acta, 54(22) (pp. 5262-5266)

Preparation, structure and stability of Pt and Pd monolayer modified Pd and Pt electrocatalysts (2009)
Wells, P. P.; Crabb, E. M.; King, C. R.; Wiltshire, R.; Bilsborrow, B.; Thompsett, D. and Russell, A. E.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 11(27) (pp. 5773-5781)

Controlled modification of Pt/Al2O3 for the preferential oxidation of CO in hydrogen: a comparative study of modifying element (2009)
Jain, Shailesh K.; Crabb, Eleanor M.; Smart, Lesley E.; Thompsett, David and Steele, Andrew M.
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 89(3-4) (pp. 349-355)

To alloy or not to alloy? Cr modified Pt/C catalysts for PEM fuel cells (2008)
Wells, P. P; Qian, Y; King, C. R; Wiltshire, R. J. K.; Crabb, E. M.; Smart, L. E.; Thompsett, D and Russell, A. E.
Faraday Discussions, 138 (pp. 273-285)

Impact of PtRu anode catalyst degradation on DMFC MEA performance (2008)
Cabello-Moreno, N.; Crabb, E.; Fisher, J.; Russell, A. E. and Thompsett, D.
ECS Transactions, 16(2) (pp. 483-496)

Potential dependence of segregation and surface alloy formation of a Ru modified carbon supported Pt catalyst (2007-02-16)
Rose, A.; Crabb, E.M.; Qian, Y.; Ravikumar, M.K.; Wells, P.; Wiltshire, R.J.K.; Yao, J.; Bilsborrow, R.; Mosselmans, F. and Russell, A.E.
Electrochimica Acta, 52(18) (pp. 5556-5564)

Titanium-doped γ-Fe2O3: Reduction and oxidation properties (2004-12-01)
Ayub, I.; Berry, Frank; Crabb, E. and Helgason, O.
Journal of Materials Science, 39(23) (pp. 6921-6927)

Effect of Ru surface composition on the CO tolerance of Ru modified carbon supported Pt catalysts (2004-04)
Crabb, E.M.; Ravikumar, M.K.; Thompsett, D.; Hurford, M.; Rose, A. and Russell, A.E.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 6(8) (pp. 1792-1798)

Phase transitions of ruthenium-doped iron oxide studied by Fe-57 Mossbauer spectroscopy at elevated temperatures (2002-06)
Helgason, Orn; Ayub, Ibrar; Berry, Frank J. and Crabb, Eleanor
Hyperfine Interactions, 141-142(1-4) (pp. 291-295)

Controlled modification of carbon supported platinum electrocatalysts by Mo (2002-01)
Crabb, E.M.; Ravikumar, M.K.; Qian, Y.; Russell, A.E.; Maniquet, S.; Yao, J.; Thompsett, D.; Hurford, M. and Ball, S.C.
Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters, 5(1) (A5-A9)

Properties of alumina supported Pd-Fe and Pt-Fe catalysts prepared using surface organometallic chemistry (2001-09-03)
Crabb, Eleanor M. and Marshall, Robert
Applied Catalysis A: General, 217(1-2) (pp. 41-53)

Synthesis and characterisation of carbon-supported PtGe electrocatalysts for CO oxidation (2001-01-15)
Crabb, Eleanor M. and Ravikumar, M.K.
Electrochimica Acta, 46(7) (pp. 1033-1041)

Metals and Life (2009-11-01)
Crabb, Eleanor and Moore, E. A. eds.
ISBN : 978-1-84973-059-4 | Publisher : RSC Publishing | Published : Cambridge

Selective cancer cell toxicity and radiosensitization using different high atomic number nanoparticles (2016-06-02)
Grellet, S.; Kaas, S.; Crabb, E.; Allman, S. and Golding, J.
In : Nanotech France 2016 (1-3 Jun 2016, Paris, France)