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Designing colloidal films and membranes with complex interactions

Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

About the Project

Porous films and membranes are important for applications such as adsorbing, separating and storing gases, cleaning water and soils, sensor devices and many others. Biology is also dependent on film and membrane structure eg in cell membranes. Complex structures can be formed from particulate or colloidal ingredients via phase separation or aggregation. How the structure of the film and the kinetics of its structural evolution over time depend on the interparticle interaction is not well understood, limiting our ability to design films with bespoke requirements for eg pore size distributions and shapes, permeability, physical properties such as mechanical strength, and so on. The project will use computer simulations of the growth process from particle suspension film, exploring systematically how different interactions (attractions and repulsions of different strengths at different length scales) determine structure and kinetics, building on previous work to employ various novel structural measures such as using Voronoi statistics to characterise void space.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Funding Notes

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates will be eligible to be considered for a University scholarship.

Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering, physics, physical chemistry or materials chemistry/engineering discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

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