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Sustainable compostable packaging formed from all natural materials

   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

About the Project

We live in a throw-away society in which we make, use, and dispose with detrimental effects to our environment and health, such as plastic contaminants in oceans and food chains. This is due to the industrialisation of many commercial processes, dramatically reducing the cost of products for consumers. These lower prices do not reflect the real cost to the environment of either their manufacture or their disposal. Over 40% of plastic packaging is discarded in landfills with almost one third being dumped illegally. A new paradigm is needed, a circular bioeconomy with waste reuse to generate products and energy. This project will turn materials obtained from agricultural waste with no current usage, tomato leaf and orange peel, into compostable films for packaging. The films will need the required mechanical properties, optical properties and compostability (Leeds Plant Growth Suite). As part of your PhD, you will link these properties to the structure/dynamics/orientation at a molecular scale (crystallinity, anisotropy, dynamics, composition). The materials will be studied using scanning electron microscopy, NMR, X-ray, FT-IR, optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and Instron-tensile tests. This project will require a multidisciplinary approach, combining physics with biology and chemistry to unlock the full potential of these natural resources.

Please visit our website for further information about this project.

Funding Notes

A highly competitive EPSRC Faculty Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship consisting of the award of fees with a maintenance grant of £16,062 for session 2022/23 for 3.5 years. This opportunity is open to UK applicants only. All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Faculty Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.

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