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PhD Studentship: Universal Chemistries in the Development of Advanced Polymer Binders

University of Surrey

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Guildford
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £15,009
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 17th April 2019
Closes: 31st May 2019

Studentship description

This project involves the synthesis of novel reactive polymers and their application for surface coatings and universal binders. The successful candidate will join the Department of Chemistry at the University of Surrey and work mainly in the Roth research group. 

The aim of the project is to develop a novel material that can bond to almost any surface and can therefore act as a superior glue. This interdisciplinary project contains three work packages: 

(1) Synthesis of polymers and polymer nanoparticles (within the Department of Chemistry). You will be trained in state-of-the-art techniques including controlled radical polymerization, polymerization-induced self-assembly, and post-polymerization modification reactions, and will learn how to assess the materials to check for synthetic success. By exploiting latently reactive chemical groups we plan to prepare a material that can safely be handled and stored but, under the right conditions, can be activated to undergo the desired exceptional bonding. (2) Mechanical testing (Mechanical testing facility, University of Surrey). In this step we will test how strongly our new materials can stick to a surface or can stick two surfaces together. We can also analyse the surfaces of the materials to understand their bonding (e.g. through XPS or electron microscopy). (3) Application-based testing. Toward the end of the project, you will visit a local company who prepare cable harnesses for submarines. There, our new materials will be tested in a real-world application in the context of quite literally gluing things onto the outside of submarines. 

The project is supervised by a team who can provide training in organic chemistry, polymer synthesis, mechanical testing, and testing at the industrial site. Funding is available to attend international conferences relevant to the research. 

Successful candidates will be required to undergo a ‘baseline personnel security standard (BPSS)’ check and must sign a UK MOD confidentiality agreement DEFFORM 702 

This is a three year project, commencing in October 2019. 

Entry requirements

First class or high second class BSc or Master’s level degree (or international equivalent) in chemistry, chemical engineering, or a closely related subject are. For non-native English speakers: average score of 6.5 with each individual category at least 6.0 in an Academic IELTS test not older than 2 years. 


Stipend (£15,009 p.a.), tuition fees (at UK/EU level), and costs for consumables and (international) travel are available for a project duration of 3 years.

How to apply

Applications can be made through the Chemistry Course page 
Students are encouraged to email Peter Roth prior to applying to discuss their application. 

Please state the project title and supervisor clearly on the “research proposal” part of the application. Applicants need to include a copy of your CV, your nationality (for funding eligibility), the degree(s) you have completed with marks (please express as “x out of y”, i.e. “70 %” or “14/20”), any degree you are in the process of completing (with a prospective mark), and highlight any previous experience or interest you have in the fields of polymer synthesis, materials, and organic chemistry. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview as part of the application to the university.

Closing date for applications Friday, May 31, 2019

Application enquiries Peter Roth +44 1483 68 6396

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