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EPSRC Supported EngD: Formulating environmental friendly barriers based on Micro Fibrillated Cellulose (MFC)

University of Birmingham - Chemical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £19,800 tax free bursary p.a. plus fees paid
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th June 2018
Closes: 31st August 2018

FiberLean Technologies Limited (Par, Cornwall)

Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Prof S Blackburn

FiberLean Technologies is the leading global producer of Micro-Fibrillated Cellulose (MFC). As a Joint Venture between Imerys and Omya, the company’s mission is to further industrialize and proliferate the use of Micro and Nano Cellulosics. These natural, renewable, abundant, high-performance materials have the power to lead a material science revolution towards a more sustainable future. Barriers are widely used to protect goods e.g. food stuff in single servings from contamination by other substances or to contain the same in a defined compartment and are often made of “plastics”, covering a bio-based base such as high-quality carton board. These composite materials are difficult to recycle and the polymer component is hardly bio-degradable. Alternative solutions are of interest, an increasing public awareness is creating a strong market pull.

Supporting the industrial change to use more sustainable and environmental friendly products, by replacing / reducing polymer based barrier technologies with novel bio-based high-performance materials.

1) Basic understanding of MFC material properties and related processes.

2) Basic formulations to demonstrate potential for various barrier applications (MFC as a filler, as a coating and as a free-standing film) in comparison to conventional technologies.

3) Special considerations for MFC in formulations for multilayer / compound structures, aiming for significant reduction of conventional barrier solutions.

4) Environmental aspects: Effect of barrier formulation on bio-degradability.

5) Application proposals: refining barrier formulations for selected examples.

To be eligible for EPSRC funding candidates must have at least a 2(1) in an Engineering or Scientific discipline or a 2(2) plus MSc. Please email your c.v. to For more details on the Engineering Doctorate scheme please visit

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