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Development of Novel Microporous Polymers for Advanced Membrane Separations

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Membrane based separation techniques can be an order of magnitude more energy efficient than the heat driven separations (e.g. distillation). To date, high performance membrane materials, able to perform separations based on chemical properties or size etc., are underdeveloped or expensive to scale-up. In this respect, the development of new membrane materials able to recognize, separate and transform molecules is crucial and greatly needed. Microporous polymers are a new class of porous organic polymer materials which possess high surface area, chemical stability and tuneable pore sizes with the unusual possibility to introduce chemical functionalities. Microporous polymers can mimic the molecular sieving functionality (molecular selectivity) of adsorbent materials and thus these materials can be used either as adsorbents in different composites membranes or/and as pure highly performance membranes, presenting an ultimate solution for membrane based separations. The goal of this PhD project is to design, synthesise, and characterise novel microporous polymers based adsorbents and ultrathin membranes that will provide a novel separation platform with tailored chemical functionality for advanced membrane separations especially focusing on gas separation and organic solvent nanofiltration. The developed membranes will be investigated in terms of their structure and properties by a range of characterisation techniques and measurements including gas adsorption and gas separation, water and solvent permeation etc.

The PhD student will use a variety of polymerisation techniques to make novel microporous polymers incorporating new chemical functionalities to improve their performance. Overall this project will provide excellent experience for the prospective student in a diverse range of areas including materials chemistry and chemical engineering, nanoporous materials, advanced characterisation techniques, membrane technology and working in a unique collaborative academic-industrial partnership.

The successful applicant will also be a part of the University of Bath’s Centre for Advanced Separations Engineering (, which has the largest number of academics in the UK focussed on Separation Science and Engineering. The Centre creates a stimulating, friendly and positive working environment where you can work with colleagues with complementary expertise. The project can also involve European research collaboration and chance for the candidate to benefit from international research exchange programs.

Due to funding limitations, only UK/EU applicants can be considered. Applicants should ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree and/or MSc distinction (or equivalent overseas qualification) in chemical engineering, materials science/engineering or chemistry. A strong background in organic chemistry will be highly valuable. English language requirements must be satisfied in advance of an offer of funding, by IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with an overall band score of 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 per skill.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact Dr Salman Shahid () directly for further details. Please send a CV and a cover letter to Dr Shahid. Candidates will be shortlisted for the full online application.

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019

Funding Notes

This project is eligible for inclusion in funding rounds scheduled for end of November 2018, January 2019, February 2019, March 2019 and April 2019. A full application must have been submitted before inclusion in a funding round.

Funding will cover Home/EU tuition fees, a maintenance stipend (£14,777 pa (2018/19 rate)) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum for 3.5 years. Early application is strongly recommended.

How good is research at University of Bath in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 61.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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