PhD Studentship in Materials for Chemical Conversions: Probing Reactor Beds Using Neutron Diffraction

Newcastle University

Value of award

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,777 (at 2018/19 rate). Also additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2018 for 3 years.

Application closing date

30 April 2018. Prompt application is advised.


A new reactor concept has been developed for the important industrial chemical reaction of H2 production from the water-gas shift reaction. The method uses chemical looping (CL) with a non-stoichiometric oxygen-carrier material (OCM). The student will synthesise and characterise first generation oxygen carrier materials - primarily non-stoichiometric oxides in the La(Sr)FeO3 family. These samples will be characterised before and after neutron beam-time by, e.g., surface area analysis (BET) and laboratory X-ray diffraction. Neutron scattering will be employed to test and develop thermodynamic models of the materials in reference and operating environments.

You will spend some time at the ISIS facility to design, construct, and commission a sample environment for the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source diffractometers. This unique in-situ sample environment shall consist of a multi-gas flow reactor and furnace assembly for use on the HRPD and Polaris beam lines at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, which will allow chemical engineering processes to be transferred to neutron scattering beam lines and a fundamental understanding of functional materials properties to be developed.


ISIS Neutron and Muon Source Facility, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and Newcastle University.

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor I Metcalfe, Professor of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, Newcastle University
Dr Wenting Hu, School of Engineering, Newcastle University
Professor John Evans, Department of Chemistry, Durham University
Professor Martin Owen Jones, Inorganic Chemistry, Lincoln College, University of Oxford and Energy Materials Coordinator for the ISIS Neutron spallation Facility at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Eligibility Criteria

You should have an upper-second-class Honours degree or higher or international equivalent, in Chemical Engineering, or a related subject.

This award is available to UK/EU applicants. If English is not your first language, you should have IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

You must also have the potential for performing original research.

How to apply

If you are interested in the above project and meet the criteria you should email a CV, covering letter plus two references to Professor Metcalfe.

The successful applicant will then be asked to apply for University admission using the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please Create a new account.

  • Insert the program code 8030F in the program of study section
  • Select 'PhD in Chemical Engineering - Chemical Engineering' as the programme of study
  • Insert the studentship code ENG016 in the studentship/partnership reference
  • Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code ENG016 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


Professor I Metcalfe, Professor of Chemical Engineering
School of Engineering
Telephone +44 (0)191 208 5279

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Northern England