Fouling is a major industrial problem where solids/macromolecules accumulate on interior surfaces of process units and ancillaries forming dense layers that are difficult to remove. Food and pharmaceutical, industries in particular must avoid fouling to mitigate cross-contamination. Currently, approaches to clean surfaces are not environmentally friendly and often inefficient (costly and process downtime). A more detailed understanding of molecule-substrate, molecule-molecule interaction is required to better eliminate fouling and minimise the inefficiencies of cleaning.
The PhD will be in the Colloids and Polymer Engineering group at the University of Leeds, with access to world-leading research facilities and highly-sophisticated measurement techniques including atomic force microscope, quartz crystal microbalance, optical reflectometry, electron imaging and others. Polymeric/surfactant cleaning agents will be studied and their effect on the formed deposits analysed. The study will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms controlling deposition, hetero-aggregation and macromolecule removal.