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Development of green and sustainable flame retardant bio composite from a plant waste (lignin)

   Centre for Manufacturing and Materials Engineering

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  Dr Latha Krishnan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

In recent years, the demand for environmentally friendly polymers, renewable resource-derived polymers and sustainable products in the composite industry has become more desirable owing to increasing environmental concern, environmental legislations (e.g. halogen-free fire retardants, legislations on toxic chemicals by REACH, bio based economy etc.) and restricted availability of raw material resources. The lignocellulosic biomass, as a naturally abundant renewable resource, is viewed to have the potential to replace fossil fuel. Lignin is a heterogeneous and amorphous polymer that exists massively in the cell wall of vascular plants, making it the second most ample biomasses on the earth just after cellulose. The low-cost lignin possesses numerous attractive properties, such as high carbon content, high thermal stability, biodegradability, favorable stiffness, and fire-retardant properties. Compared to traditional halogenated flame retardants (FRs) with high toxicity, such as decabromodiphenyl ether, tetrabromobisphenol A, polybrominated dibenzofuran and hexabromocyclododecane, lignin could be a sustainable alternative as FR additives. Recent studies are focusing on improving the fire-retardancy efficiency of lignin with chemical modification to achieve the V-0 rating. The aim of this project is to aim to develop a green and sustainable bio composite, which is flame retardant and fully bio-derived, by using biodegradable polymers (PLA, PHA, etc.) and lignin. It involves the development of compatible green flame retardant for bio polymers by the chemical modification of lignin by grafting.

Coventry University and A*STAR jointly offer a fully-funded PhD studentships to UK/EU and international students as part of the A*STAR Research Attachment Programme (ARAP).

Each studentship will include full fees: 

  • full tuition fees
  • a stipend for up to 4 years (£15500/year) subject to satisfactory progress
  • It is essential that applicants have expertise and practical experience of chemistry preferably polymer chemistry. 
  • The candidate must be able to demonstrate experience of safe working practises in a chemical laboratory. 
  • Familiarity with lignin and bio polymers, chemical modifications and polymer materials characterisation would be beneficial.
  • It would be advantageous if the applicant had knowledge of flame retardant materials.
  • Good communication, presentation and writing skills. 
  • Excellent team skills and able to work in a multi-cultural research group.
  • Applicants with publications will be highly regarded.

Entry criteria for applicants to PHD 

• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average. 


  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).  
  • All applications require full supporting documentation, CV, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

For further details see: https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-students/making-an-application/

Funding Notes

bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU/International
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