Dr. Nelson’s background is in physical organic chemistry, the how and why of organic reactions. Much of his research has been in the area of polymer flammability. His more than 200 publications are principally in the area of the flammability of polymers; particularly engineering plastics. His early contributions included extension of the oxygen index test as a tool to elucidate the effect of chemical structure on flammability. In industry (General Electric Company) he developed a major multidisciplinary laboratory devoted to fire and plastics. Over 500 large-scale simulations of fires in plastics products were conducted with considerable new understanding attained. He conducted some of the early industrial animal toxicity studies on products of combustion of burning polymers.
He was the first to recognize the importance of CO2 in more fully accounting for toxicity of CO in small-scale toxic potency tests. As a result of this extensive experience, he has participated extensively in the standards process for fire safety.
Dr. Nelson received the Society of the Plastics Industry Structural Foam Division’s Man of the Year Award for 1979. The Mississippi Legislature passed a Concurrent Resolution in his honor in 1987. He was the American Institute of Chemists Members and Fellows Lecturer in 1989. Nelson was also the 1992 chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and was 1988 President of the American Chemical Society. He was the 1998 recipient of the Charles Holmes Herty Medal presented by the Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society. From 2013-2015 he was President of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. On 2015 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.
B.S. University of Nevada, Reno
M.S. Yale University
Ph.D. Yale University
Comprehensive Evaluation of Unreacted Flame Retardants in Printed Circuit Boards, Feng Yang and Gordon L. Nelson, 26th Annual Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials, Stamford Downtown, CT, 2015.
Halogen-Free Flame Retardant Flexible Polyurethane Foam via a Combined Effect of Flame Retardants, Feng Yang and Gordon L. Nelson, in Alexander B. Morgan, Charles A. Wilkie, and Gordon L. Nelson, Fire and Polymers VI: New Advances in Flame Retardant Chemistry and Science, ACS Symposium Series 1118, American Chemical Society, Washington, D. C., Chapter 10, 139-150, 2012.
Synthesis of Phosphate – Urethane Block Copolymers: Effect of Bound Phosphorus in the Soft Moiety of Block Copolymers on Thermal and Flame Retardant Characteristics of Polyphosphate Polyurethane Block Copolymers, Feng Yang and Gordon L. Nelson, in Alexander B. Morgan, Charles A. Wilkie, and Gordon L. Nelson, Fire and Polymers VI: New Advances in Flame Retardant Chemistry and Science, ACS Symposium Series 1118, American Chemical Society, Washington, D. C., Chapter 19, 271-294, 2012.
Explaining Halogen Free Flame Retardant Flexible Polyurethane Foams via a Combined Effect of Flame Retardants, Feng Yang, Brian Silver, and Gordon L. Nelson, PMSE Preprints, Paper 221, American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Diego, California, March 25-29, 2012.
What is Green? Florida Revisited, Gordon L. Nelson, Periodica Oeconomica, 5, 51-68, 2012.
Combination Effect of Nanoparticles with Flame Retardants on the Flammability of Nanocomposites, Feng Yang and Gordon L. Nelson, Polymer Degradation and Stability, Volume 96 Issue 3, March 2011, 270-76.
Flammability of Polymer/Inorganic Nanocomposites, Feng Yang, Irina Bogdanova and Gordon L. Nelson, Fire and Polymers V Materials and Concepts for Fire Retardancy, Charles A. Wilkie, Alexander B. Morgan and Gordon L. Nelson, eds., ACS Symposium Series 1013, American Chemical Society, Chapter 6, 2009.
Impact of Nanoparticle Shape on the Flammability of Nanocomposites, Feng Yang, Irina Bogdanova and Gordon L. Nelson, Fire Retardancy of Polymers New Strategies and Mechanisms, T. Richard Hull and Baljinder K. Kandola, eds., RSC Publishing, Cambridge, U.K., 95-109, 2009.
Impact of the Chemical Composition of Nanofillers on the Flammability of Polymer Nanocomposites, Feng Yang, Irina Bogdanova and Gordon L. Nelson, Polymers for Advanced Technologies, 19, 602-608, 2008.
Thermal Stability and Flammability of Polymer/Silica Nanocomposites Prepared Via Extrusion, F. Yang, R. Yngard, A. Hernberg and G.L. Nelson, Fire & Polymers, Materials & Concepts for Hazard Prevention, ACS Symposium Series 922, American Chemical Society, Chapter 12, 144-154, 2006.
Ferrocene Containing Copolymers with Improved Electrostatic Dissipation Properties for Advanced Applications, Trent M. Smith and Gordon L. Nelson, Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Polymers for Advanced Technologies 2005 (PAT 2005, Budapest, Hungary, September 13-16, 2005); Polymers for Advanced Technologies, 17, 746-753, 2006.
Polymer/Silica Nanocomposites Prepared Via Extrusion, Feng Yang and Gordon L.
Nelson, Polymers for Advanced Technologies, 17, 320-326, 2006.
The 1% Effect Modification of Polymers at Low Additive Level, S. Keszei, F. Yang, B. Marosfoi, R. Yngard, A. Hernberg, G.L. Nelson and G.J. Marosi, Science Supporting Environmental Protection, G.L. Nelson and I. Hronszky, eds., Arisztotelesz Publishers, Budapest, Hungary, 175-188, 2005.
Yang, F., Yngard, R. and Nelson, G.L. "Flammability of Polymer - Clay and Polymer - Silica Nanocomposites," Journal of Fire Sciences, 23, 209-226, 2005.
Williams, M.K., Holland, D.B., Melendez, O., Weiser, E.S., Brenner, J.R. and Nelson, G. L. "Aromatic Polyimide Foams: Factors that Lead to High Fire Performance," Polymer Degradation and Stability, 88 (1), 20-27, 2005.
Williams, M.K., Weiser, E.S., Fesmire, J.E., Grimsley, B.W., Smith, T.M., Brenner, J.R. and Nelson, G.L. "Effects of Cell Structure and Density on the Properties of High Performance Polyimide Foams," Polym. Adv. Technol., 16, 167-174, 2005.
Research & Project Interests
Dr. Nelson’s research activities focus on polymers, particularly polymer degradation and flammability.
Specific interests include new flame retardant materials, nanocomposites, combustion product toxicity, polymer aging and weathering, and coating adhesion to plastic substrates.
Recent Projects Include:
- High Performance Polyimide Foams: Characterization
- Novel Nanocomposites: Mechanical, Thermal and Flammability Properties
- Ferrocene-Based Polymers
- Effect of Zinc and Zinc Compounds on the Flammability of PPO-HIPS Blends, Polystyrene and Polycarbonate
- Synthesis and Properties of Siloxane-Polyurethane Block Co-Polymers
Gordon Nelson Named "Author Extraordinaire" by Western Cover Society
Gordon Nelson, Ph.D., a university professor of chemistry, Fellow of the American Chemical Society, and multi-award winning polymer scientist, has added another accolade to his already inimitable curriculum vitae. Dr. Nelson received the 2021 Basil C. Pearce Award for his article, "Langton's Humboldt Express," which appeared in the March 2020 edition of Western Express, the research journal of early western mails.