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Towards a mechanistic understanding of additive competition and adsorption at the particle interfaces in non-aqueous dispersions

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  • Full or part time
    Prof P Griffiths
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD project is in collaboration with Infineum. Infineum produce fuel and lubricant additives for transportation. The function of lubricant additives is to prevent damage to engines (e.g. abrasive and corrosive wear) and to confer beneficial properties (such as reduced emissions into the environment and improved fuel economy). A lubricant can, in many ways, be considered a mixture of surfactants, particles and polymers. The project focuses on the interface between soft matter and particles in the presence of complex surfactant systems. The aims of the project are to identify and provide mechanistic understanding of additive competition and adsorption at the solid (particle) interface as a function of (non-aqueous) solvent polarity. This project will result in the development of optimised oil formulations to improve fuel economy and provide enhanced environmental benefits.
The project will utilise NMR methodology, in particular, solvent relaxation, pulsed-gradient spin-echo NMR (PGSE-NMR) provide mechanistic understanding of the interactions between the various amphiphilic additives. These studies will be supplemented by small-angle neutron scattering experiments


The project will utilise NMR methodology, in particular, solvent relaxation, pulsed-gradient spin-echo NMR (PGSE-NMR) provide mechanistic understanding of the interactions between the various amphiphilic additives. These studies will be supplemented by small-angle neutron scattering experiments.

Duration: 3 years, Full-Time Study

Person Specification (Essential)

• 1st Class or 2nd class, First Division (Upper Second Class) Honours Degree or a taught Master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant area to the proposed research project
• For those whose first language is not English and/or if from a country where English is not the majority spoken language (as recognised by the UKBA), a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 (in all elements of the test) or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required, unless the degree above was taught in English and obtained in a majority English speaking country, e.g. UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc, as recognised by the UKBA.

Experience & Skills:
• Previous experience of undertaking research (e.g. undergraduate or taught masters dissertation)

• Appreciation of some form of spin-resonance spectroscopy, ideally NMR E • Knowledge of soft matter or colloidal systems E • Ability to present scientific arguments to a wider audience

Personal Attributes:
• Understands the basis of a research degree in terms of approach and personal discipline/motivation
• Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully and in a timely fashion to a high standard

Other Requirements:
• This scholarship may require Academic Technology Approval Scheme approval for the successful candidate if from outside of the EU/EEA E • The scholarship must commence before 29 September 2017

Closing date for applications: Midnight UTC on 30 August 2017

Making an application:

Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available at: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/research/study/apply/application_process . Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.
• Scholarship Reference Number (Ref)– included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying
• a CV including 2 referees *
• academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments must be a PDF format.

Before submitting your application you are encouraged to liaise with the Lead Supervisor on the details above.

Funding Notes

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):
Year 1: £14,553 Year 2: In line with RCUK rate Year 3: In line with RCUK rate
In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home/EU rate, currently £4,195, for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee, currently £8,305, for the duration of their scholarship. This fee is subject to an annual increase.



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