Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is the most useful technique for chemical reaction monitoring because it simultaneously provides kinetic and structural information for all reaction components. Currently, NMR spectral information is inaccessible for heterogeneous reactions due to limitations in the design of NMR instruments. Heterogeneous reactions, such as immiscible liquid-liquid reaction systems or mixtures of solid particles in liquids, are common to many industrial chemical processes: from polymer synthesis to drug synthesis and catalysis. This PhD project is based on a proof-of-concept study conducted at the University of Manchester, which demonstrated for the first time how the limitations in the design of NMR instruments can be overcome. Through well-controlled mixing strategies, we obtained meaningful NMR data for heterogenous mixtures.
This project will involve a collaboration between a PhD student based in Mathematics and a Chemistry PhD student to study and model mixing strategies for heterogeneous reaction mixtures, in situ of an NMR instrument. The PhD project will have three components: (1) conduct experiments to measure and analyse the fluid mechanics properties of mixing strategies in confined NMR tube for various representative but non-reactive heterogeneous mixtures; (2) model the mass transfer resulting from the mixing and de-mixing strategies and its impact on reactive mixtures in order to guide the implementation of these strategies in the Chemistry project; (3) analyse the chemical and NMR data generated by the Chemistry PhD project to refine the models developed in (1-2).
The interdisciplinary and collaborative project is suitable for an enthusiastic and creative candidate who has good knowledge in fluid mechanics, some laboratory experience and is willing to learn modelling through numerical simulations.
Location: Manchester Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics, Department of Mathematics, University of Manchester, UK