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Automated 3D-Printed Microfluidic System for Nano-Catalyst Development

Project Description

Catalysts are crucial for the £3,500B/year global chemical industry on which our modern civilization depends. Different catalysts are in constant development to fulfil economic, political and environmental demands. The current technology gaps of laboratory-scale reaction systems have limited the commercial availability of: 1) automated microreactor platforms that deliver first principles kinetics, 2) automated microreactor platforms for catalyst activity screening, and 3) in-situ analytics that capture real-time catalysts and reagents information. Chemical engineers, chemists and materials scientists could potentially implement such automated microfluidic systems to expedite their laborious research and development activities. The research project aims at closing these technology gaps in laboratory-scale catalyst synthesis and screening to broadly accelerate materials development and commercialization timelines. The study of autonomous microreactors is proposed to address the technical challenges that currently limit the next-generation needs in catalyst discovery research. The 3D-printed modules will enable a Plug-and-Play functionality for the microfluidic system. The ability of a reactor system to decipher phase behaviours, analyse the reaction progress, decide which catalyst is the most active, and identify accurate kinetic expressions are tremendous challenges the proposed system can solve in order to more efficiently screen catalyst and discover kinetics. The proposed research will broadly impact heterogeneous nano-catalyst manufacturing, and it will also introduce novel techniques for the discovery of new science.

Funding Notes

UK/EU – EPSRC Studentship for 3.5 years paying academic fees and maintenance. UK applicants are eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. EU applicants are eligible for Fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.  Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.

How good is research at University of Leeds in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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