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Fully Funded EPSRC DTP PhD Scholarship: Development of CO2 Soluble Green Nanomaterials and Low Surface Energy Surfactants

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Alexander
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This scholarship is funded by the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership.

Start date: October 2019

Subject areas: Colloid and Interface Science, Chemical Engineering and Material Science

Project description:

Over the past few years, there has been great interest in designing supercritical CO2-philic materials, in order to improve physiochemical properties of scCO2 such as viscosity, wettability, and surface tension. One of the most common approaches to control the viscosity and also surface tension of CO2 is using surfactants and polymers. Surfactants that are mainly used for water-in-CO2 (W/CO2) microemulsions are fluorinated surfactants; however, the fluorinated surfactants are expensive and environmentally hazardous.

The project aim is to develop a range of environmentally friendly low surface energy nanomaterials in order to obtain stable W/CO2 emulsions. These materials can then be used in variety of applications from dry-cleaning, to enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

The project offers the candidate an exciting opportunity to examine the structural behaviour of these materials in the ISIS neutron facility in the UK (in collaborations with the University of Bristol, Hirosaki University, Japan, and the ISIS neutron source).

Project supervisors: Dr Shirin Alexander and Prof Andrew Barron

Available resources/facilities:

The prospective student will be part of the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI). The new 3,800 m2 ESRI building represents Swansea University’s £38million investment into energy on the new Bay Campus. It focuses on the safety issues surrounding the development and expansion of existing energy processes, as well as the safe deployment and integration of new ’green’ energy technologies. The laboratory facilities are world leading, within the BREEM Outstanding building, that will enable the goals of the research project. Fume hoods suitable for handling sensitive compounds will be available for the project. In addition, all gas handling and safety equipment is available. Within ESRI and the Bay and Singleton Campuses the following facilities are available: surface tensiometry, IR spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy (MS), UV-visible spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), atomic adsorption (AA) analysis, gas analyser, total organic content (TOC) measurement and 1H NMR spectroscopy. A full microscopy centre is available at the Bay Campus (TEM and SEM/EDX), while ESRI has its own SEM facility. In addition, suitable office space is available for the project and computer and IT support.

The student will enter a multi-disciplinary group in ESRI and thus will have significant peer and academic and administrative support.

Candidates should hold a first or upper second class honours degree (or its equivalent) in chemistry, engineering, mathematics, or physics or a Master’s degree in a subject area related to the project. Experience of conducting experimental laboratory work is desirable.

Experience in surfactant synthesis and nanoparticles characterization is strongly desirable.

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit –

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,009.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.

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