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Externally activated adaptive networks

   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr SG Spain  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The problem of plastic waste is well established, but the focus has been on packaging. However, other plastics such as polymer composites (e.g., carbon fibre reinforced resins) have significant environmental benefits in use, such as a reduced fuel consumption, but are almost completely non- recyclable. Covalent-adaptive networks (CANs) are crosslinked polymers that have labile bonds that can undergo exchange such that the network structure can be adjusted allowing the reforming/recycling of these materials. However, if the bonds exchange too easily then the structural properties of the material are compromised. In this project, you will work on CANs that can be selectively activated so that in one condition they are stable while under a stimulus they may be reformed and ultimately degraded for recycling.

For further details or informal enquiries, please contact Dr Seb Spain [Email Address Removed]

Person Specification

The candidate needs:

 an undergraduate degree in Chemistry (minimum of 2:1 MChem or equivalent).

 research experience in either synthetic organic or polymer chemistry.

 excellent communication skills and the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team.

About the Spain Lab

The Spain Lab (, based in the Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield was started in 2014 and is led by Dr Seb Spain. Our research interests are broad and include advanced polymer synthesis including controlled radical polymerisations, self-assembled and responsive materials with applications in healthcare and sustainable materials. We are well equipped for both polymer synthesis and analysis including excellent chromatography and particle sizing instrumentation within the group as well as access to the Soft Matter Analytical Laboratory (SMALL) including our world-leading gallium source Small-Angle X-ray Scattering instrument in the Department of Chemistry.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded project. If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.
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