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Unravelling interfacial phenomena in the presence of ethanol

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A fully funded studentship is available in the Formulation Engineering Research Group of the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. The project aims to use interfacial and sub-micron scale structure techniques to understand interfacial phenomena in emulsions stabilised with a mixed emulsifier system, comprising a protein and low molecular weight emulsifier, in the presence of ethanol, as a first step towards future design of more sustainable formulations and emulsion processes.

Quite frequently, food and beverage formulations and processes have evolved over the years with limited scientific understanding of the role of each ingredient or the selection of the processing regime. Formulation and process are intricately linked, and a deep understanding of the functionality of ingredients in formulation puts the design of a novel more sustainable process on much better footing than not.

The stability of emulsions where the oil/water interface is intended to be stabilised with a protein is strongly affected by other formulation ingredients that exhibit interfacial activity, such as low molecular weight surfactants or flavour compounds, or affect solvent quality, such as ethanol. While these phenomena are well known, there is lack of sufficient understanding to redesign these systems with a higher degree of freedom in terms of emulsifier choice and solvent quality. The postgraduate researcher will have access to a range of emulsification processes and a suite of analytical methods, including interfacial tension and rheology methods, to link the physicochemical emulsion properties to stability and formulation. In order to understand the molecular architecture at and near the interface, access to relevant scattering techniques can be applied for in consultation with the supervisors and an industry sponsor. You will be expected to engage with the UK based partner company on a frequent basis during the course of the study, should any findings show a near in opportunity you will work with the company to test your findings.

Funding Notes

• The ideal candidate should have a good first degree (1st or 2.1) in Chemical Engineering, Food Process Engineering, Physical Chemistry, or Physics.
• This project will be a 3 year PhD with funding available for EU/UK students.
• Application deadline: This PhD is available now and open until filled.
• Primary contact for further information:

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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