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Polymeric Dispersants for use in Fuels, and Beyond....


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Friday 17 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Competition funded
Source of funding
Research council
Dr David Harbottle and Dr Paul Thornton
School of Chemical and Process Engineering, School of Chemistry
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Stabilizing nano- and colloidal-material to prevent the aggregation and precipitation of compounds is a fundamental problem encountered in several industries from pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals, to common fuels. Colloidal particles that are thermodynamically unstable when dispersed in non-aqueous solvents may be stabilised upon interaction with short-chain molecules (steric-stabilization). Most short-chain molecule dispersants include a carbon-chain and a functionalized head group, with rudimentary structural optimization of the dispersant molecule often providing good performance to stabilize colloidal species.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>However, dispersing polycyclic nanoaggregates in aromatic/aliphatic solvents has proven to be a considerable industrial challenge, with many conventional dispersant molecules failing to solubilize the molecular components of the nanoaggregate. Consequently, this project will focus on the creation of a range of novel polymers that are capable of disrupting the self-assembly of polycyclic compounds. Such compounds are commonly found in fuels to the detriment of normal engine operation, causing negative economic and environmental impact. Contemporary, controlled, forms of polymer synthesis (for example, RAFT polymerisation, radical ring-opening polymerisation) will be exploited to generate a range of polymer architectures capable of self-assembly, and crucially polycyclic self-assembly disruption. Green routes to such polymers, including the use of renewable monomers and solvents, will be sought, biodegradable polymers will be created, and the use of naturally occurring, biopolymers, fully explored. Such materials are highly suited to, and will be applied to other settings, including as dispersants within personal care and pharmaceutical formulations.</p> <p>The proposed project provides excellent training in polymer synthesis and characterisation for the creation of commercially-significant products that are relevant to a range of industries. Such research forms a collaboration between the Schools of Chemistry and Chemical and Process Engineering, and will embed within a larger research collaboration with industry partners and international academic institutions.&nbsp;</p>

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

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">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 &ldquo;Polymeric Dispersants for use in Fuels, and Beyond...&rdquo;&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr Paul Thornton</a> 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.

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

<p><strong>UK/EU</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences Research Council Studentship&nbsp;for 3.5 years. A full standard studentship consists of academic fees (&pound;4,600 in Session 2020/21), together with a maintenance grant paid at standard Research Council rates (&pound;15,285&nbsp;in Session 2020/21). UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.&nbsp;&nbsp;Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.</p>

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

<p>For further information please contact the Doctoral College Admissions<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p>

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