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Dispersion Modelling of Polyaromatic Compounds

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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Assoc Prof David Harbottle , Dr R Hammond , Prof K Roberts No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Polyaromatic compounds are encountered in a range of industries from pharmaceuticals to petroleum. Unlike the ultrapure organic compounds, petroleum polyaromatic compounds have been shown to exhibit > 20,000 distinct structures, which makes predicting their solution behaviour difficult.

Our recent work has shown solution behaviour to be governed by key elements and functional groups that promote molecule-molecule interactions and form nanoaggregates. Preventing nanoaggregate formation is desirable to limit accumulation of deposits that severely interfere with the performance of the fluid. In the current project we will combine modelling and experiments to determine aggregation mechanisms when the chemical architecture of the interacting species is systematically transformed. This big-data approach will be executed using in-house built grid-based molecular modelling and compound structures obtained from crystallographic databases and high-fidelity experiments using FT-ICR-MS, XPS, NMR, SANS. The modelling approach will provide new insights to design chemical dispersants that prevent nanoaggregate formation, something which is not yet realized.

This work is in collaboration with Infineum UK Ltd.

Funding Notes

UK/EU – Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council Studentships paying academic fees of £4,600 for Session 2020/21, together with a maintenance grant (currently £15,009 in Session 2019/20) paid at standard Research Council rates for 3.5 years. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.  Funding is awarded on a competitive basis
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