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Continuous Flow Manufacturing of Catalytic Nanomaterials

  • Full or part time
    Prof A Gavriilidis
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


Nanoscale catalysts have traditionally been prepared by methods that do not provide accurate control on the catalyst structure. Colloidal routes offer improved control on nanoparticle size, shape, composition and structure. The nanoparticles are synthesised typically by the reduction of a metal salt or complex with a suitable reducing agent in the presence of capping ligands that are used to stabilise them and affect their shape and structure. The underlying synthesis consists of various steps of reactant complex formation, reactant speciation, nucleation, growth, aggregation. These steps are sensitive to reaction conditions (concentrations, pH, and temperature) whose uniformity is influenced by hydrodynamics, mass and heat transfer. This makes the scalability of such processes in batch vessels challenging, as these conditions can be nonuniform and affected by reaction vessel size. Continuous millifluidic reactors offer a technology, which can allow precise control of particle characteristics, while at the same time enable improved nanoparticle synthesis reproducibility and robustness. This research project aims to investigate millifluidic approaches for manufacturing catalytic nanoparticles such as Pd, Pt, Ni. Different flow reactors will be studied to facilitate nanoparticle synthesis with reduced fouling and control of the mixing conditions. The nanoparticles will be supported on typical supports such as alumina, titania, silica with ultimate application to catalytic reactions of relevance to pharmaceuticals or synthetic fuels.


The candidate must have or be expected to obtain an First-Class Honours degree from an MEng level programme or its equivalent (e.g. a 3 year BSc followed by an MSc degree) in chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science, physics or an associated discipline. For an evaluation, please send a two page CV, a personal statement (max 500 words), full grade transcript(s) for all degree(s) already obtained, and for all completed modules of currently in progress degrees.

Funding Notes

Scholarship funding is possible if the applicant is from UK or EU and has been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years. To be considered please apply by 26 April 2020

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