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Investigating the impact of cleaning product formulations on indoor air chemistry


Project Description

In developed countries, it has been estimated that we spend more than 90% of our time indoors, whether at home, in the workplace or commuting between the two. Despite this fact, most of the regulation and research around air quality and consequent health effects has been on the outdoor environment. Furthermore, there are some high concentration activities such as cooking and cleaning, where exposure to some harmful pollutants can be particularly high indoors and we still understand relatively little about pathways to exposure in the indoor environment.
In this studentship, you will use a combination of modelling and experimental studies to investigate the impact of cleaning on indoor air chemistry. In particularly, you will investigate the concentrations of both primary and secondary pollutants that arise when cleaning and identify the conditions that lead to particularly high concentrations of harmful pollutants. You will also use an existing detailed chemical model to investigate whether cleaning product formulations can be modified to reduce the concentrations of harmful products that can be formed.
This EPSRC studentship is supervised by Professor Nicola Carslaw in the Department of Environment and Geography and Dr. Terry Dillon in the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory at University of York. You will work closely with an interdisciplinary team of leading indoor air and atmospheric scientists in York and with researchers investigating the indoor air chemistry of cooking and cleaning on the new IMPECCABLE project, a wider community involving the Universities of Chester and Nottingham.
As the project progresses you will:
1) Probe chemical formulations of a selection of fragranced cleaning products such as household cleaners and oxy/chlorinated bleaches
2) Test impacts on indoor air quality in field experiments using: Chemical Ionisation Mass-Spectometry; GC-MS; low-cost sensor networks.
3) Use the INDCM model to quantify impacts on indoor air chemistry and quality and help devise new improved formulations.
You will develop transferrable skills in design and performing of field experiments, analytical chemistry, chemical mechanism development and evaluation, numerical / data skills and model analysis. The University of York provides comprehensive training programmes for students throughout their PhD studies, with a range of courses on both hard and soft skills (e.g. improving transferable skills, putting research into a wider scientific context and preparing for thesis presentations and viva). You will have a strong scientific background (good degree in Chemistry, Natural/Environmental Sciences) and a keen interest in environmental issues. This project is highly interdisciplinary and encompasses several different science and technology areas. The York team is well supported with experienced scientists and technical support; all training will be provided, and no previous experience with specific techniques, instruments or models is necessary.
To apply for this studentship, you will need the following:
• Curriculum vitae (CV)/resumé which shows a high level of academic achievement and appropriate non-academic experience. Please include high school results.
• Transcripts and certificates of ALL degrees to date. If you have not yet completed your current degree, you will need to send an official transcript of your results so far.
• Personal Statement. Please provide a personal statement outlining (i) explain why you are interested in this PhD, (ii) what motivates you to pursue PhD study, (iii) what is your research experience and how does your skill set match the requirements for this project, and (iv) what is the wider importance of this research project.
• English Language. Generally, if you are from an EU country other than the UK, you may need to meet the English language requirements evidence through an English language test (e.g., IELTS/TOEFL). The test certificate is not required when applying but will be required when registering if you are successful.
• Academic References. Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need a minimum of two strong academic references. These can be emailed directly by the referee to . Please note that it is your responsibility to request these references and ensure that they are sent to us.

Funding Notes

This 3.5 year PhD project is part of the University of York EPSRC DTP programme. Potential applicants should refer to the EPSRC rules: View Website
Or email for further guidance. Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree in Chemistry, Environmental or Natural Science.

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