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Recycling textile fibers into carbon-based electrochemical devices

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference Number: ER-2018-PhD-1

Project Summary:
Around 300,000 tonnes of textile waste is sent to landfill in the UK each year, therefore new methods of recycling end of life textiles are required to. This project, working alongside the Waste to Resource Innovation Network, will focus on harnessing the carbon from textile waste and implementing it for a range of electrochemical devices.

Specific Requirements of the Project

The project will require the applicant to synthesize new materials from waste precursors. The products will require physicochemical characterization using a variety of methods and subsequent electrochemical testing. The applicant should have a degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or similar. It is desirable for applicants to have experience in hydrothermal synthesis of carbon materials, and experience in several analytical detection methods including (but not limited to): electrochemical methods (cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic charge/discharge etc.); scanning electron microscopy; x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; x-ray diffraction; x-ray fluorescence; infrared spectroscopy; elemental analysis; differential scanning calorimetry and uv/vis spectroscopy.

Project Aims and Objectives

The aim of this project is to develop a new chemical processing route for the reduction of textile fibres into conductive carbon. The conductive carbon is envisaged to be utilized within energy storage devices. The objectives of the project will be organized in the following way:
• The project will design reaction routes for carbon production using synthetic fibres (e.g. polyester) as a starting material. The reaction routes will be evaluated in terms of their upscaling feasibility, product yields and quality of material produced (conductivity, impurities etc.) using analytical characterization techniques;
• Carbonized products will be incorporated into electrodes to evaluate their conductive properties. The conductive properties will be probed using electrochemical methods and related to the chemical structures of the products, as identified by spectroscopic methods;
• Optimal method will be selected an optimised further to improve carbon yield and quality. The project will explore green chemistry approaches in the production of carbon materials from synthetic textile fibres;
• Further processing of the product will be investigated to design a conductive carbon from the crude product. Green approaches towards the production of conductive carbons will be considered in this section of the work (i.e. avoidance of calcining);
• The optimal method will be applied to waste polyester fabrics obtained from a waste management company in Greater Manchester. The reaction products of plasticized PVC will be examined using spectroscopic and electrochemical methods and compared to the synthetic PVC case.

Project is open to: Home/EU and overseas

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Edward Randviir
Tel: 0161 247 1188

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