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Suppression of coffee-ring effect for printing pharmaceuticals (ASKOUNISAU20SCIEC)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, January 30, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The coffee-ring effect (CRE) is ubiquitous in our lives from the drying of a spilled coffee drop (hence the name) to the drying of rain drops on our windows. Essentially, the CRE is responsible for the formation of solute accumulating at the periphery of the drying droplets and forming ring-like patterns [1]. However, CRE is detrimental to a number of technological applications that require a uniform surface coating from biomedical diagnosis to microfluidics and printing semiconductors and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, considerable scientific attention focused on understanding and suppressing the underlying mechanism [2], although a scalable and inexpensive method remains elusive. 

Through this PhD project, we aim to inform a new generation of surface patterning techniques, with a particular focus on printing pharmaceuticals. We will build on our expertise in drop evaporation and coffee-ring formation dynamics (Dr. Askounis), printing methods development (Dr. Alexander) and innovative drug deliveries systems (Dr. Qi) to develop new approaches to suppress CRE with ultimate goal to exploit results in drug pills printing. The successful candidate will work in a multidisciplinary environment combining Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Pharmacy and alongside researchers at different stages. The project involves wet chemistry for suspension and substrate preparation and functionalisation, cutting-edge 3D printing, state-of-the-art drop shape analysis setup for evaporation studies and confocal and atomic force and scanning electron microscopies (AFM and SEM) for pattern and surface characterisation.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here https://people.uea.ac.uk/a_askounis

Type of Programme: PhD
State Date: October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time

Entry requirements:
Acceptable first degree in Mechanical, Materials, Chemical Engineering or other relevant subject.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a competition for a Faculty of Science funded studentship. Funding is available to UK/EU applicants and comprises home/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,009 for 3 years. Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (which for 2019-20 are detailed on the University’s fees pages at View Website . Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual increase).


[1] R. D. Deegan, O. Bakajin, T. F. Dupont, G. Huber, S. R. Nagel, and T. A. Witten, Nature 389, 827 (1997). 

[2] D. Mampallil and H. B. Eral, Advances in Colloid and Interface Science 252, 38 (2018). 

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