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Greener Metal Recovery: Functionalised Ionic Liquids for Extractions and Separations of Heavy Metals

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

Project Description

“Greener Metal Recovery: Functionalised Ionic Liquids for Extractions and Separations of Heavy Metals”

Applications are invited for a PhD research studentship in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast under the supervision of Dr. Peter Nockemann.

Project details
Ionic liquids have a great potential as alternative and more environmentally benign solvents for rare and precious high-tech metal extraction, separation and processing. This project aims to target promising new separation technologies involving ionic liquids.
In this project we will investigate functionalised ionic liquids as ‘greener’ and more environmental friendly solvent systems for separations, including metal extractions. Novel functionalised ionic liquids will be designed and synthesised and their metal extracting abilities from aqueous processing streams will be investigated. These highly tuneable, hydrophobic ionic liquids have been proven to be suitable and recyclable extraction media for the separation of a range of heavy metals from the aqueous phase and are alternatives to conventional volatile organic solvent mixtures. Fundamental studies will be carried out to improve understanding of the underpinning extraction mechanisms, and to investigate possibilities of a cost-efficient and sustainable use of ionic liquids in the separation and recovery of these metals.
Liquid-phase speciation studies will be carried out with a range of complementary spectroscopic techniques such as UV/Vis, IR/Raman, NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy. These metal speciation studies will be complemented by ICP, AAS, MS and regular XAS (XANES, EXAFS) studies at synchrotron facilities. The aim is to develop metal selective ligands and extractants based on structure-activity relationships in order to optimise the parameters for liquid-liquid extractions of metal ions. The project will also involve theoretical simulation studies of the metal-ligand interactions.
The ideal candidate should be an independent thinking, enthusiastic student interested in the synthesis of ligands, coordination chemistry and analytical techniques.

How to apply
Applications should be made in the form of a CV (with a minimum of 2 academic referees) and covering letter and sent to Dr Peter Nockemann, School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, David Keir Building, Stranmillis Road, Belfast, BT9 5AG, or submitted via e-mail to [email protected]

The successful candidates will be expected to take up the studentship in October 2015 (the start date has some flexibility, if mutually convenient).

There is no official closing date however each application will be considered immediately upon submission so it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible.

Funding Notes

We invite applications from students who have a 2.1 or above Bachelors degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. This is a 3 year studentship fully funded by DEL (Department for Employment and Learning), providing a maintenance grant of ca. £13,860 per annum and covering all tuition fees. If you are resident in the UK or elsewhere in the EU, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you refer to the terms and conditions of DEL postgraduate studentships (http://go.qub.ac.uk/delterms) to ascertain whether you are eligible for a studentship. Please note that non-EU residents are NOT ELIGIBLE for DEL studentships.


Further information
For informal discussions about the project and suitability contact Dr Peter Nockemann ([email protected]).
For further information on Queen’s University Belfast, see http://www.qub.ac.uk/
For further details on eligibility for funding and useful information for prospective research students please read the information at http://www.qub.ac.uk/postgraduate.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.35

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

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