PhD Studentship: Microencapsulation of Phase Change Materials [PCMs] for Cryogenic Energy Storage

University of Birmingham - School of Chemical Engineering

A highly competent and self-initiative PhD candidate with a first degree in chemistry or materials science is required to carry out a challenging and exciting project on the microencapsulation of phase change materials [PCMs] for Cryogenic energy storage, based in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham.

Applications of microcapsules are prevalent in numerous industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and detergents etc.  In each application, different core materials are encapsulated inside a membrane wall, usually in a core-shell structure, to be protected against ambient moisture and oxygen for a prolonged shelf-life, or to be released in a controlled manner to achieve a particular purpose. For each application, the requirements for the membrane wall/shell are disparate in terms of their mechanical and barrier properties. This is mainly realised by the selection of the appropriate shell materials in the first place, as well as process control for formulation. This project aims to identity the essential criteria for the shell material to be used for microencapsulation of PCMs for cryogenic energy storage, to search for the ideal shell material candidates along with necessary modification to achieve the optimum mechanical and barrier properties, and to design a formulation route for the identified candidates to be used for the microencapsulation of PCMs for cold energy storage. The process design will be based on well-established interfacial polymerisation and solvent extraction methods. At the initial stage the student will focus on the formulation of microcapsules by bulk emulsification based on our identified shell candidates to deepen our understanding of the underlying fundamental science. At a later stage, based on the achieved understanding the student will extend the formulation using other functionalized shell candidates using both bulk emulsification and other techniques such as membrane emulsification and microfluidics etc. for comparison and consolidation of the fundamentals.

Eligibility requirements:

A strong understanding of general chemistry and materials science and characterisation is compulsory for the candidate. Excellent knowledge and equivalent experience in organic chemistry, physical chemistry especially in surface and interface science, and materials characterisation is highly desirable. Preference will be given to candidates especially with the following expertise and experience: organic synthesis, surface and interface science, and polymer curing. The candidate must have a positive attitude for taking up challenges and overcoming obstacles, be self-initiative, and be able to think out of the box. The candidate should be able to document experiments well and thoroughly and has a high level of attention to details.

Funding Notes:

Self-funded or home country funded students are welcome to apply this post. UK/EU rate funding is also possible depending on the quality of the applicant. For further details on the project and informal enquiry please contact Dr Yongliang Li at Applications will be evaluated on an on-going basis until the position is filled.

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Midlands of England