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Turning industrial waste into waste treatment materials

   School of Natural Science

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  Dr Jennifer Readman  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Almost all industrial processes generate some form of waste which needs to be disposed of safely to protect the environment. There are strict environmental laws and directives to prevent dangerous waste entering water supplies and food chains. Therefore, the chemical industry are investigating ways to turn the waste and by-products they produce into useful new chemicals and materials.

Luxfer MEL Technologies are one of the world’s leading producers of zirconium and magnesium materials and solutions. The waste streams generated when producing these materials are highly caustic, containing a variety of other compounds such as sodium silicates or silica paste.

This project aims to investigate the use of waste streams that Luxfer MEL generate to synthesise geopolymers and other silicates, test their ability to treat waste-water. Geopolymers contain molecular units found in minerals linked together by covalent bonds, but unlike minerals they have poor crystallinity at ambient temperatures. Their high chemical and mechanical stability means they have been investigated for use as fire-resistant materials, ceramic and refractory materials, and biomaterials. But it is their ability to be used as ion-exchange materials and absorbents which is of interest here. Geopolymers are of interest to the nuclear sector to absorb radionuclides, subsequent vitrification produces a dense material ideal for geological disposal facilities.

In this project a range of silica materials with differing compositions will be produced and characterised. Their ability to remove a variety of waste metal-ions of interest to the nuclear sector will be evaluated to determine the most suitable material. 

Further information

Informal project related enquiries about the post can be made to Dr Jennifer Readman email: [Email Address Removed]

For full details go to:


Please apply using the following link, quoting the studentship reference number DTC044


For any other queries, please email [Email Address Removed].

Closing Date: 24th June 2022

Proposed Interview Date: TBC


Funding Notes

The studentship is tenable for up to 3 years full time. The studentship will provide an annual stipend of £16062 per year (subject to satisfactory progress) and the UK tuition fees (current rates Home/EU £4600 per year).
It is expected the successful applicant will commence 19th September 2022.
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