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Chemical Control of Silica Scaling in Geothermal Systems


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Thursday 31 August 2023
Project start date
Sunday 1 October 2023
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Dr Richard Barker
Additional supervisors
Dr Frederick Pessu, Dr Joshua Owen
School of Mechanical Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This joint PhD project with Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre will focus on the evaluation and optimisation of newly developed geothermal silica scaling inhibitors. These new chemistries are designed to mitigate internal silica scaling deposition onto carbon steel in demanding, high temperature aqueous CO2-containing environments, analogous to those encountered in geothermal systems. <br /> <br /> The project will develop new high temperature/high pressure systems, along with new methodologies for the evaluation of inhibitory molecules, with the intention of improving the understanding of their scaling mitigation mechanisms.<br /> <br />

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

<p>A common method for protecting carbon steel against mineral scaling in aqueous CO2-containing environments (such as geothermal systems) is the continuous injection of scale inhibitors into the process fluid. These inhibitors can function through a number of differing mechanisms in order to reduce the nucleation and/or growth of mineral scales. Towards higher temperatures, the functionality of many scaling inhibitors is lost. Although the development of thermodynamically stable inhibitors is possible, this typically comes at a price of increased toxicity and reduced bio-degradability. Due to the ever tightening legislation associated with chemistries used for industrial processes, the synthesis of new inhibitory molecules proves extremely challenging. Recent research has resulted in the synthesis of a new class of chemistries which have shown potential for control of silica deposition, though the mechanism of inhibition remains unclear. The project will explore new methodologies for the evaluation of such inhibitory molecules using bespoke high pressure and high temperature systems, with the intention of improving the understanding of the scaling inhibition mechanisms.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are looking for an enthusiastic graduate with an interest in materials chemistry, engineering materials and/or material science to join the Institute of Functional Surfaces. The project will be largely experimental and will involve the design of new systems and the development of new methodologies for understanding the mechanisms of silica scaling inhibitors in challenging environments.&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 Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PhD Mechanical Engineering</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Chemical Control of Silica Scaling in Geothermal Systems</strong></em>&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr Richard Barker</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>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</strong></p> <p><strong>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 31 August 2023:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left:8px"><strong>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</strong></li> <li><strong>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</strong></li> <li><strong>CV</strong></li> <li><strong>Funding information including any alternative sources of funding that you are applying for or if you are able to pay your own fees and maintenance</strong></li> </ul>

<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 class="MsoNoSpacing">A highly competitive EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship consisting of the award of fees with a maintenance grant (currently &pound;17,668 in academic session 2022/23) per year for 3.5 years.</p> <p>This opportunity is open to UK applicants only. All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.<br /> <br /> Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

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

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