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Graphene and nanoparticle hybrid materials for energy applications (Melbourne Dual Award)

Department of Materials

Manchester United Kingdom Chemical Engineering Metallurgy Nanotechnology Other

About the Project

We offer an exciting opportunity to pursue a dual PhD degree between the University of Manchester and the University of Melbourne on the topic of graphene and nanomaterials for energy applications.

Graphene, the monolayer carbon first isolated at the University of Manchester, has a unique combination of many superlative properties that makes it an ideal material for energy generation and storage applications, such as electrodes for fuel cells and batteries. Briefly, graphene possessed high strength combined with flexibility, high electrical conductivity, high thermal conductivity and high specific surface area.

In this project, we will develop a hybrid electrode material comprised of graphene and nanoparticles for energy applications. For batteries, this could take the form of a hybrid between graphene and silicon nanoparticles. For fuel cell applications, this could take the form of a hybrid between graphene and metal catalyst nanoparticles. These hybrid material swill maximise the benefit of each nanomaterial and achieve synergy between the two.

A student eligible for this project will have a degree in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering or equivalent. During the course of the project, the student will gain expertise in production of graphene materials such as graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide, characterisation of graphene materials by electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, scanning probe microscopy, thermal stability and degradation, etc, and routes to graphene functionalisation. The student will also gain expertise in batteries and fuel cells, electrode materials, and electro-chemical characterisation.

The student will spend 30 months of their PhD at The University of Manchester, working in the Nanofunctional Materials Group, which has world-leading expertise in graphene materials and composites production, characterisation and applications. The student will also spend 12 months of their PhD at the University of Melbourne in the Ellis group, where they will interact with world leading experts in Li-Si batteries and other energy storage materials and systems.

Candidates should have or be expected to achieve a 2.1 or higher in Materials, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics or related fields. A Master’s degree preferred. 

Funding Notes

Funding for the programme will include tuition fees, an annual stipend at the minimum Research Councils UK rate (approximately £15,285 for 2020/21), a research training grant and student travel to Melbourne.

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