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All Natural Composites

PGR-P-445

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Supervisors
Dr Peter Hine and Dr Michael Ries
Schools
School of Physics and Astronomy
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

All polymer composites is a growing area of research and development in which the Leeds Soft Matter Physics group has been one of the foremost pioneers. Research to date, on melt processable polymer systems, has led to a number of major patents and via a University spin-off company, to commercial applications. In the view of replacing synthetic polymers by renewable matter, all-natural based composites have great potential. In this project we shall manufacture and study all-natural composites using &amp;ldquo;green&amp;rdquo; processing routes. Selective surface solvation of the biopolymer fibres via an ionic liquid will be used. Preliminary studies (using flax and hemp fibres) have shown that excellent bonding can be achieved, but composite morphology and mechanical properties are not yet understood. The composition of the solvent (type of ionic liquid and fraction of cosolvent), pre-activation of cellulose fibres (distilled water / caustic soda), the fibre type and hence properties (different biopolymer sources), the fibre arrangement (unidirectional, woven, weave) and processing variables (solvation time and pressure) will be varied. The mechanical properties (tensile, bending, impact) of the composites will be studied and correlated with their structures (WAXS, NMR, SEM).<br /> <br /> We are consuming fossil fuels at an ever increasing rate with this finite resource expected to be effectively exhausted before the end of this century. Therefore we need to develop sustainable processing systems that can generate bio-based products with less environmental impact. All-natural-composites have the potential to have excellent material characteristics due to the improved binding between matrix and fibre. As these materials will be formed entirely from one material their recyclability is greatly simplified, with this being an important consideration for the product lifetime.<br /> <br /> This work will then be expanded to incorporate natural biopolymers such as cellulose, silk and keratin, to form a variety of all-natural-composites.

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/rsa/prospective_students/apply/I_want_to_apply.html">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is All Natural Composites as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/physics/staff/4130/dr-mike-ries">Dr Michael E Ries</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>Self-Funding Students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/138-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2021-january-deadline">Leeds Doctoral Scholarship (January deadline)</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/141-henry-ellison-scholarship-2021">Henry Ellison Scholarship</a>&nbsp;are available to UK applicants. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/102-bell-burnell-scholarship-award-awarded-by-the-iop">Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</a>&nbsp;is available to support applicants who are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics (awarded by the IOP).&nbsp; <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/63-school-of-physics-astronomy-fee-only-scholarship">School of Physics &amp; Astronomy Fee Only Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support the additional academic fees of international applicants. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/102-bell-burnell-scholarship-award-awarded-by-the-iop">Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</a>&nbsp;is also available to international applicants and supports those who are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics (awarded by the IOP). <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by&nbsp;email:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">m</a><a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">aps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk</a>&nbsp;or by&nbsp;telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Michael Ries by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="mailto:M.E.Ries@leeds.ac.uk">M.E.Ries@leeds.ac.uk</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>