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Continuous processing of fibrous plant-based meat structure

   School of Chemical Engineering

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  Prof B Wolf  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

To provide consumers with ethical plant-based meat products, it is intrinsic that manufacturing processes are sustainable. Widely used screw extrusion type processes are energy-intensive, and are limited in terms of fibrous structure generation, lipid inclusions and sustainable plant protein ingredients. Therefore, there is a need to design alternative, energy-efficient processes which provide the necessary flow and structuring operations to produce such products at an industrial scale and from a wider range of plant biopolymers. Improving our ability to create hierarchical aligned fibre structures will allow the manufacture of products with superior sensory properties (e.g. juiciness, tenderness, flavour).

The EngD project will advance the understanding of fibrous structure creation for the production of meat analogues in a continuous manner. The aim is to develop a novel, scalable technology for the manufacture of fibrous plant-based materials in the presence of al lipid phase at different inclusion levels. The EngD candidate is expected to utilise a set of research tools including computational fluid dynamics (CFD), microstructure engineering and process rheology. Research into minimising the processing of the bioresource while still delivering the desired product texture will also be carried out.

Ideally, we are looking for a candidate with a first degree in Chemical Engineering, or similar as long as they offer a good foundation in fluid mechanics and colloid science. The MSc by Research, a 1-year postgraduate research degree, the project will complement the 4-year EngD project in its first year by advancing the scientific understanding of the phase behaviour of plant protein-based biopolymer mixtures. The aim is to create formulation design rules for microstructures applicable to the processes developed in the EngD project. Research methods will include protein extraction and characterisation, microstructure imaging, rheology and thermal property analysis among others. The ideal candidate has a first degree in a relevant Engineering (Chemical, Bio, Food) or Science (Food, Chemistry, Material) discipline.

Funding Notes

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Richard Greenwood via email ([Email Address Removed]), together with a CV. For details on the Engineering Doctorate scheme visit the homepage. To be eligible for EPSRC funding candidates require a 2.1 or 2.2 plus MSc in a relevant degree discipline. For details on the MSc by Research degree, please visit the following homepage: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/chemical-engineering/postgraduate/eng-d/index.aspx

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