EPSRC iCASE PhD Studentship, Characterisation of Condition-Tolerant Fuel Cell Catalyst Layers

University of Nottingham - Faculty of Engineering

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the area of improving the design of new fuel cell (FC) catalyst layers. Although Hg porosimetry and N2 sorption have aided understanding of FC catalyst layer structure, the difference between good layers and bad has not been adequately quantified and we cannot design a layer ‘from the bottom up’. Newer methods such as cryoporometry, FIB-SEM and X-ray CT will be coupled with the standard methods to minimise artefacts in layer characterisation. Characterisation data will be used to identify the reasons for different behaviours seen with differently structured layers and will define the role of the support in determining structure during layer formation. The ultimate aim is to enable design of carbon supports that lead to layers with the required structure and composition to give condition tolerant behaviour in an automotive or stationary FC. This project will address the issue that existing FC cathode layers can be susceptible to performance loss under cool, wet operating conditions.

This project is in collaboration with Johnson Matthey and will potentially involve working at their research facilities too.

Applicants would be expected to possess at least an upper-second class degree (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, other engineering disciplines, or physical sciences. The stipend for eligible students would be £16,296 (figure for 2016/17 subject to inflationary adjustments each year).

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Sean P Rigby (Tel: 0115 951 4078 or email: sean.rigby@nottingham.ac.uk). Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

Formal applications must be made on-line through the University website http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/how-to-apply/research.aspx

Start date: 1st Oct 2017, closing date for the application: till filled.

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Midlands of England