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Cross-linking 2D metal sulfides: An elegant solution to sour corrosion

Project Description

Corrosion is an omnipresent concern in geothermal power plants and oilfield infrastructure, costing more than £1.1 billion per annum. Carbon steel pipework is particularly at risk, with internal corrosion arising due to the presence of dissolved CO2/H2S. Concerning H2S-induced (sour) corrosion, degradation is often rapid, although adhered solid corrosion scales can provide protection. Typically, these scales are iron sulfides, with the 2D mackinawite phase (2D-FeSmack) dominating. Their protective nature, however, is often undermined by local breakdown and subsequent high corrosion rates. Given this scenario, it is desirable to improve the performance of these scales, in particular their breakdown resistance. To this end, motivated by the pioneering work of Rao et al. on 2D-MoS2 (Chem. Commun. 53, 10093 (2017)), the aim of this project is to enhance the protective properties of 2D-FeSmack through an innovative approach, i.e. cross-linking of the 2D layers to form X-2D-FeSmack.

At the end of the project, the ideal outcome will be the capability to specify reagents that can be injected into a pipes carrying sour fluids to produce robust cross-linked 2D-FeSmack scales. To achieve this target, an interconnected multidisciplinary approach is required, combining synthetic chemistry, electrochemical corrosion measurements, and material characterisation, i.e.

(i) Development of synthetic routes to X-2D-FeSmack, which are suitable for application in sour oilfield environments.
(ii) Evaluation of the impact of cross-linking reagents on the corrosion resistance of sour scales.
(iii) Optimisation of cross-linking reagents through the identification of key structure-property relationships.

This project is also open to students through self funding (worldwide).

Funding Notes

Funding covers tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of at least the Research Council minimum (£14,777 for academic year 2018/19) for eligible UK and EU applicants. EU nationals must have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the programme to be eligible for a full award (fees and stipend). The duration of this PhD is 3.5 years and the proposed start date is September 2019.

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in Materials Science, Chemistry or related subject.

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