Microplastics are a source of anthropogenic contamination that are becoming an environmental concern due to their high concentrations across the earth’s surface. Whilst large plastics can be collected easily using traditional methods due to their visibility, a full understanding of the pathways and fate of micro- and nano-plastics from the land to the rivers, estuaries and the sea is unknown, due to their small scale and ability to agglomerate with riparian soil particles and other plastic types. Nevertheless, the physical mechanisms which govern their transport in aquatic systems, and deposition onto the riverbed is yet to be elucidated. The interaction between microplastics and bed sediments due to cohesive forces can lead to their aggregation forming much larger and heavier particles that are therefore easier to deposit on the river bed. These processes need to be well-understood to inform the development of numerical models and future environment policies that can address and reduce the impact of microplastics on the environment.
This project aims at providing a new understanding to the two-way interaction between microplastics and sediment particles within the aquatic system. The PhD researcher will conduct experiments in unique hydraulic flume facilities at Cardiff University using a range of flow and sediment measurement techniques, such as particle image velocimetry, acoustic doppler velocimetry, ultrasonic ranging distance sensors and high speed cameras for which the student will receive internal and external training as appropriate .
Candidates should be highly motivated to undertake a PhD in such research activity that will help to tackle this key environmental problem. Candidates should hold a good bachelor’s degree (first or upper second-class honours degree) or a MSc degree in an area of Environmental, Mechanical or Civil Engineering, or Chemistry. Knowledge in fluid mechanics, hydraulics and sediment transport are desired. Previous laboratory or field experience would be advantageous. We seek the student to be proactive and willing to work in interdisciplinary teams by interacting with the wider community of engineers, biologists and ecologists at Cardiff University and beyond. The student will have the opportunity to do collaborative work with stakeholders (e.g. Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales) to expand the aims of this project to a global level
Candidates should hold a good bachelor’s degree (first or upper second-class honours degree) or a MSc degree in an area of Environmental, Mechanical or Civil Engineering, or Chemistry. Knowledge in fluid mechanics, hydraulics and sediment transport are desired. Previous laboratory or field experience would be advantageous
Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)
Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages (http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/programmes/programme/engineering
• an upload of your CV
• a personal statement/covering letter
• two references (applicants are recommended to have a third academic referee, if the two academic referees are within the same department/school)
• Current academic transcripts
Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering), with a start date of July or October 2020.
In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding, reference PO-DTP-2020
Please contact Dr Pablo Ouro Barba ([email protected]
) to informally discuss this opportunity