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Synthesis and Structural Characterisation of Calcium Thickened Greases

Project Description

Lubricants have been in use for centuries. Their primary purpose is to increase efficiency of movement and reduce friction and wear between components. In a modern age of computing and digitalisation, machinery remains, and will continue to remain a key component for improving quality of human life. Electrification of vehicles and transforming power generation away from Fossil Fuels are two good examples of new applications and therefore requirements for mechanical lubrication. Despite existing for centuries, lubricants continue to evolve to meet an ever-changing landscape of requirements both in terms of their application and their environmental impact. Furthermore, recent progress in nanoscience and technology enables new “intelligent” lubricants to be formulated resulting in novel functional properties.

There is an excellent opportunity to join a University/Industry-funded project studying multi-component lubricating greases of high performance based on metal carbonates. The main goal of the PhD project is to obtain a better fundamental understanding of the reactions/processes occurring during grease synthesis and roles played by different components, on morphology, stabilisation and phase transformations of metal carbonates. The work will involve formulation and some basic synthesis, guided by the industrial partner, characterisation and detailed structural analysis of the lubricating greases.

While working on fundamental science, the successful candidate will have a close relationship with industry, and therefore have the opportunity to acquire skills necessary for a future career in either academia or industry. He/She will learn/use a wide range of basic experimental and analytical techniques (Chemical Analysis, NMR, Surface Tension, Rheology, Rheo-Optics) as well as focus on methods for structural characterisation of materials such as Electron Microscopy (SEM/TEM) and X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS). The successful candidate will be a member of a large research group and a regular user of Sheffield’s state-of-the-art Soft Matter Analytical Laboratory specializing in scattering and rheology techniques.

It is essential to have a first or upper second-class degree at BSc level in Chemistry, Physical Sciences or Materials Engineering (or an MSc in a relevant discipline) with core skills in experimental work and data analysis, and a basic knowledge of chemistry.

Funding Notes

• The PhD studentship is fully funded for 4 years
• The PhD studentship is available to a UK or EU applicant
• All applicants should provide a CV with 2 references including a covering letter (maximum 1 side of A4) outlining their motivation, skills and experience

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