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PhD in nanomaterials for automobile catalytic converters to start ASAP

University of Bath

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th March 2019
Closes: 5th June 2019

The development of nanomaterial catalysts to reduce the emissions in engine exhaust fumes is critical for a sustainable future. New catalysts are needed which are capable of working over a wider range of temperatures while minimising precious metal usage. This project aims to develop efficient catalyst washcoat formulations that work efficiently as three-way catalysts, that is, in the reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen (2NOx → xO2 + N2), the oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide (2CO + O2 → 2CO2) and the oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons {CxH2x+2 + [(3x+1)/2]O2 → xCO2 + (x+1)H2O}.

The applicant will work with a multidisciplinary team embracing a wide range of expertise in chemical engineering, catalysis and vehicle research. He/she will develop novel wet-chemistry methods for the preparation of nanomaterials, in order to maximise their surface area, expose their active facets and stabilise their structure against sintering. The candidate will exploit the use of nanomaterials such as graphene oxide, a two-dimensional material with extreme surface area, to tune the formation of the catalysts. Novel catalyst washcoats including perovskite materials will be developed and their performance, aging characteristics and scale-up potential will be evaluated. Extended physico-chemical characterisation with FTIR, XRD, UV-Vis, EXAFS, TPR, and catalytic tests will be carried out to relate the performance of the nanomaterials to their properties. It is expected that vehicle-based evaluations of promising catalysts will be undertaken utilising the automotive test facilities within the University’s Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre.

This project will start as soon as possible and will be based in the groups of Dr Salvador Eslava and Dr Chris Bannister in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at University of Bath, in close collaboration with the Aftertreatment Research team at SAIC Motor UK (Dr Alexis Manigrasso) and Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). These collaborations will involve visits to their labs.  Moreover, the candidate will get involved in the Catalysis Hub, funded by EPSRC, which will provide further opportunities for attending conferences and disseminating his/her research. 

Students should have a First or an Upper Second class honours degree (or equivalent) in chemical or mechanical engineering, materials science, chemistry or other suitable subject. Experience in catalysis, inorganic synthesis, reaction engineering, and computer simulation is desirable. The position involves laboratory work. English language requirements must be satisfied for the application. The available funding is for UK/EU candidates. Applications from overseas students with scholarships are also welcome.

Further information and entry requirements can be found on

The project will be funded by University of Bath, EPSRC and SAIC Motor UK. The student stipend will be in line with EPSRC guidelines and topped up with an additional £2,000 per year.

If interested, please send an email to Dr Salvador Eslava ( or Dr Chris Bannister ( with CV, transcript details and cover letter. Academic references will be required if shortlisted

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