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PhD Studentship in Control and Optimisation of Graphene Nano-Platelet Modified Films through the use of Stratification

Durham University - Department of Chemistry

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Durham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,009
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 4th June 2019
Closes: 15th July 2019

Location: Durham University and Applied Graphene Materials plc

Funding for: UK Students, EU students

Funding amount: £15,009 p.a. based on 2019/20 stipend

Duration: 3 years

Hours: Full Time

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship in the control and optimisation of graphene nano-platelet modified polymer films through stratification. The project is supported through European Regional Development Funding and is in collaboration with Applied Graphene Materials plc, a leading innovator in the manufacture and application of graphene.

Project description: Most industrial protective coatings are multi-layer systems (primer, topcoat etc.) necessitating complex application and curing procedures. Reduction of the number of layers while providing improved performance would result in significant economic savings. Graphene nano-platelets (GNPs) have been demonstrated to deliver barrier properties when dispersed into a component layer, resulting in significant improvements to corrosion performance. Self-stratifying coatings (SSC) potentially provide the means to both reduce the number of coating layers required, increase the corrosion efficiency of GNPs and improve the overall coating performance.

Working closely with Applied Graphene Materials plc, the project will examine the behaviour of a range of GNPs varying in particle size, morphology and functionality in model resin and polymer systems. Stratification will be used to direct the location of GNPs in the film coating. The efficiency of stratification will be studied using a range of techniques including cross-sectional TEM, Raman mapping, surface energy analysis and permeability. Models will be developed to predict the degree and location of GNP stratification and strength of GNP interactions with resin.

The project will take the form of an industrially supported studentship with the student primarily based at Durham University with short industrial placement periods with Applied Graphene Materials plc also based in the North East. This represents an ideal opportunity for a candidate interested in a research career with both academic and applied industrial elements within a 3 year fully funded study programme.

Entry Requirements: Applicants should hold, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours MChem, MPhys, MSci degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, Natural Sciences or a related subject.

Eligibility: This studentship is supported through the Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The studentship covers full Home fees and a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate (£15,009 for 2019/20).  Applicants from outside the UK/EU are not eligible for this award unless they are able to self-fund the difference between UK/EU domestic fees and international fees (

Contact: Informal enquiries can be made to Prof Karl Coleman (

How to apply: To make an application, please visit the university applications page at When making an application, please state the project title ‘Control and Optimisation of Graphene Nano-Platelet Modified Films through the use of Stratification’ : ERDF, contact name Karl Coleman.

Closing date for applications: Monday 15 July 2019.

Start date: 1 October 2019.

The Chemistry Department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

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