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Predicting interfacial pH in micellar solutions: linking morphology with reactivity in aqueous surfactant systems

   Department of Chemical Engineering

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  Dr P Carbone  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The pH at the surface of a micelle (local pH) can be markedly different (several pH units) to the bulk pH resulting in ionisable surfactants, such as CAPB being protonated while its pKa would suggest it was fully deprotonated. The aim of this PhD is to develop a computational approach to predict the pH at the micelle surface, so the correct form of ionisable surfactants can be included in subsequent calculations. This will enable new / greener / renewable surfactants and mixtures thereof to be screened in silico to determine their CMC and salt thickening potential.

The project is co-sponsored by Unilever and in close collaboration with the group of Professor Troisi in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Liverpool. The student will have the opportunity to spend time at the Unilever R&D laboratory in Port Sunlight.

Entry Requirements

The ideal candidate holds a first class or high 2.1 honours degree in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering or material science. Basic knowledge on programming is desirable but not necessary.

Application Information

Information about the application process and a link to the online application form can be found at

You MUST make contact with the lead project supervisor before submitting an application.

When completing the application include the name of the lead project supervisor as the potential supervisor.

Enquiries about this PhD can be sent to Prof Carbone - [Email Address Removed] as the lead project supervisor. For more information about Carbone’s group, please visit The Admissions team in Chemical Engineering can be contacted at [Email Address Removed] with any queries you may have regarding the application process.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder). 

Funding Notes

Funding is offered by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science (CEAS). This is a 4 year iCASE studentship (Unilever + EPSRC) that will cover tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI rate for a PhD starting in September 2022. UK and EU applicants will be considered.
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