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Exploration of Novel Fuel Cell Materials

Project Description

Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy with high efficiency and low emission of pollutants. In a fuel cell the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen produces water and electricity and as such provides a clean alternative to fossil fuels. The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is highly efficient, stable, and operates over a wide temperature range (650 – 800°C). Applications include auxiliary power units in cars and heat engine energy recovery devices. In order to reduce system costs it is highly desirable to find new materials which exhibit significant ionic conductivity at lower temperatures (< 650°C).

The project will focus on the synthesis of novel transition metal oxides containing molybdenum or tungsten which exhibit high oxide ion conductivity at low temperatures (< 650°C). The materials will be synthesised via conventional solid state chemistry techniques and analysed by powder X-ray and neutron diffraction, AC impedance, and thermogravimetric analysis.

There will also be the opportunity to attend conferences and training courses.

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Chemistry or cognate discipline.

Essential Background of Student: Knowledge of solid state synthesis and X-ray diffraction would be highly desirable, but not essential.
Knowledge of: Transition metal chemistry, electronic properties.

Funding Notes

To qualify for Elphinstone funding you MUST have a First Class Degree or equivalent OR a 2.1 Honours Degree or Equivalent, PLUS MSc at Commendation/Distinction level in a relevant subject. Please note Elphinstone funding pays tuition fees only.


Fop, Sacha; Skakle, Jan; McLaughlin, Abbie; Connor, Paul; Irvine, John; Smith, Ronald; Wildman, Eve: "Oxide Ion Conductivity in the Hexagonal Perovskite Derivative Ba3MoNbO8.5" J Amer. Chem. Soc. In press

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Chemistry. Formal applications can be completed online: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply. You should apply for PhD in Chemistry, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. NOTE CLEARLY THE NAME OF THE SUPERVISOR, EXACT PROJECT TITLE AND INDICATE YOU WISH TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ELPHINSTONE FUNDING ON THE APPLICATION FORM. Applicants are limited to applying for a maximum of 2 projects. Any further applications received will be automatically withdrawn.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr A McLaughlin (a.c.mclaughlin@abdn.ac.uk) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit (cpsgrad@abdn.ac.uk).

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