Sustainable carbon nanofibers/graphene composite electrodes for supercapacitors (MELENDI_U17SCI)

University of East Anglia - School of Mathematics

Start Date: October 2017

Closes: 1st December 2016

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Sonia Melendi-Espina

Project description: Applications are invited to the Engineering Division at the School of Mathematics, UEA, for a PhD in the field of nanostructured composite materials for electrodes in supercapacitors.

Many electronic and automotive systems require efficient and environmentally friendly energy storage devices with a high rate of energy delivery and a long lifetime [1]. Supercapacitors can fulfil all these demands, however their performance critically depends on the carbonaceous electrode materials. Thus, special interest is focused on the development of new sustainable and efficient carbon materials, which should combine various beneficial properties to provide high electrolyte ion mobility, capacitance and stability [2]. In this sense, composites made of carbon nanofibers (CNF) and graphene (G) materials have great potential to synthesise electrodes with improved electrochemical performance, building on the most advantageous properties of both carbonaceous components [3, 4].

The aim of this PhD project is the development of composite electrode materials made of mechanically stable CNF scaffolds covered with highly conductive few-layered G. Different approaches will be explored to obtain composites with outstanding properties for efficient supercapacitor electrodes, such as mesoporosity (provided by CNF scaffold) and high mechanical stability and electrical conductivity (intrinsic properties of G). CNF/G composites will be characterised using a variety of spectroscopic, microscopic, and electrochemical techniques to assess their performance as supercapacitor electrodes. Interviews will take place between 16 January and 24 February 2017.

Person specification: Applicants should hold or be completing an undergraduate honours degree with a 1st or a 2.1 classification. Degrees in Material Science, Engineering, Chemistry and other related disciplines will be considered.

Funding notes: This PhD project is in a Faculty of Science competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,296 and £1000 per annum to support research training. Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2016/17 the difference is £12,879 for the Schools of CHE & PHA, and £9,679 for CMP & MTH but fees are subject to an annual increase)

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South East England