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Formation of Hydraulic and Chemical Ground Barriers to Inhibit Contaminant Migration on Radioactively Contaminated Sites


Project Description

Project Description
This 4-year PhD at the University of Strathclyde will explore the use of colloidal silica hydrogel as a barrier to migration of radioactive contaminants in soils during decommissioning operations on nuclear facilities. Previous research work has shown that colloidal silica can be injected into the soil to create hydraulic ground barriers able to prevent contaminated groundwater transport. In this project, the potential for enhancing barrier properties will be explored to produce a combined chemical and hydraulic barrier system. The proposed research represents an exciting opportunity to conduct fundamental research with the prospect of having a significant impact on safety and the environment.

The PhD will be supervised by Prof Lunn and Dr Pedrotti at the Department of Civil and Environmental Enginering, University of Strathclyde. The Department has all the required facilities for conducting the research including an Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Geotechnical Laboratory and an Advanced Materials Laboratory. The project is co-funded by the Scottish Regional Partnership in Engineering the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and will be co-supervised by Dr Draper in the Department of Chemistry, University of Glasgow. The research will be mainly experimental with the aim of modifying the colloidal silica hydrogel properties to make it a more reactive and stronger gel. The enhanced gel will then be tested for injectability into soils and concrete, and the final permeability and sorption capacity of the barrier will be determined. Key to informing gel design will be discussions with a number of industrial collaborators on potential applications for colloidal silica grout as a barrier on existing UK decommissioning sites.
Applicants are not required to have had prior experience of hydrogel chemistry, training will be provided where required. Applicants will have a relevant bachelors or masters degree, examples include civil engineering, environmental engineering, materials science, chemistry, geology and environmental science. As part of the research, the applicant will be expected to participate in relevant national and international conferences, meet with the industrial partners and to develop journal papers within the research field.
In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:
https://www.strath.ac.uk/engineering/civilenvironmentalengineering/
https://www.strath.ac.uk/research/subjects/civilenvironmentalengineering/engineeringgeosciencesgeomechanics/
https://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/research/civilenvironmentalengineering/

Funding Notes
The studentship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees for 48 months and a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per year for the full four-year duration. International Students applying must be able to provide evidence and pay the difference between the UK Home Fee and the International Fee.

Applications are invited from candidates who have achieved a first class or upper second class honours in a relevant degree, including Chemical Engineering/Chemistry/Material Science/Civil Engineering/Environmental Engineering/Geology/Environmental Science or an equivalent qualification at Masters level and must be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees for 48 months and a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per year for the full four-year duration. International Students applying must be able to provide evidence and pay the difference between the UK Home Fee and the International Fee.

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 20.20

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

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