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Materials Science: Fully Funded EPSRC DTP and Salts Healthcare PhD Scholarship: Development of Green Low Surface Energy Materials for Superhydrophobic (Waterproof) Coatings

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, April 30, 2020
  • 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 and Salts Healthcare.

Start date: July 2020

Subject areas: Colloid and Interface Science, and Materials Science

Project description:

This project aims to develop novel fluorine-free superhydrophobic (water-repelling) surfaces, made from readily available non-toxic and economical branched low surface energy materials (LSEMs). These have important advantages over the existing LSEMs, including biodegradability, environmental acceptance and are cheaper to mass produce compared with current superhydrophobic materials which are made typically using fluorocarbons. Fluorinated compounds have significant environmental risks owing to bio-persistence and bio-accumulation, and are also extremely costly. The applications of low surface energy surfaces vary from protective or anti-adhesion coatings and anti-fouling to environmental and biomedical applications. The research will focus on diverse areas from fundamental science to applications that rely on LSEMs.

The DTP project is co-sponsored by an industrially and therefore offers the candidate an exciting opportunity to work closely with industry.

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 and/or surface/nanoparticles functionalization, characterization and coating techniques are 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 £20,000.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.

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