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The Synthesis and Continuous Manufacture of Novel, High Performing Polymeric Lubricants for the Next Generation of Electric Transportation - ENG 1381

Faculty of Engineering

Applications accepted all year round Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project description: Applications are invited for a Postgraduate Studentship to work on the project to develop novel polymeric lubricants for surfaces within Electrical Motor Systems via the use of continuous reaction manufacturing techniques.

This studentship will be hosted as part of an ongoing collaboration between within the Centre for Additive Manufacture (CfAM), based at the University of Nottingham, and a major, multinational lubricants company. The project aims to develop both (a) a bespoke series of polyurea materials and (b) novel sustainable continuous manufacturing processes to manufacture high performance wax lubricants, specifically for use in 21st century electrical transportation systems. This project will involve the development of both novel synthesis and manufacturing techniques, as it aims to develop a novel range of highly sustainable, isocyanate free polyurea lubricants, enabled by combining the novel chemistry with the benefits of continuous reactive manufacturing processes. It is this joint chemistry/engineering combination that will enable the fabrication of the next generation of wax based polyuria lubricants. These materials are of great interest, because of the increasingly rapid move toward electric powered transportation across the globe. The new, high performance electrical power systems that are being developed to meet this societal driven need, are placing much more stringent performance requirements on the materials that are used to protect their surfaces.

The industrially sponsored Case Award PhD studentship will involve the student synthesising polyurea polymers such that they contain the correct type of complex, three dimensional molecular structures, without the use of isocyanates. These materials will deliver both (a) the desired molecular properties to fit with the intended end use application and (b) the ability to formulate these materials into high performing lubricants via reactive extrusion techniques and/or selective microwave heating. These products will then be transferred to the sponsor’s laboratories for application performance assessment. The student conducting this project will be expected to spend periods of time at one of the industrial sponsor’s sites in Continental Europe, to help in conducting the performance evaluation of these complex structures via industrially relevant methods. Thus, this project will involve the opportunity for international travel.

The person appointed will work as part of a dynamic interdisciplinary team focussed on developing cutting edge polymer technologies as part of the CfAM and in close collaboration with the industrial sponsor. The CfAM is a large interdisciplinary group active in the area of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. Comprising of around 100 academics, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students, it is one of the largest research centres for additive manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide. The Centre engages with a broad range of academics from across the UK and a significant number of industrial partners to deliver on an industrially prioritised research.

Funding Notes

Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is available only to UK and EU applicants with 3 years UK residency prior to the start of their studies. EU students without meeting this criteria are eligible for a fees-only award.

Candidates should have, or expect to obtain, a first-class or 2:1 degree in Chemistry, Engineering, Physics or a science related discipline. A-level (or equivalent) in Chemistry would be beneficial.

Please send your covering letter, CV and academic transcripts to referring to the project title. Please note applications without academic transcripts will not be considered.

Start Date: 1st October 2020.

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