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Funded M2A MSc by Research Scholarship: Development of Absorbent Coatings for Extraction of Volatile Organic Chemicals

Swansea University - Engineering

Location: Swansea
Salary: The scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and a stipend of £12,500 p.a. for a period of one year.
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 30th June 2022
Closes: 2nd September 2022

Start date: October 2022

Project:

This project is a collaboration between Markes International (Bridgend, UK) and The Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating research group in Swansea University. Established in 1997, Markes International is a global manufacturer and supplier of specialist analytical instrumentation, accessories, supplies, and consumables that enhances the sensitivity and scope of gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GCMS). There are a vast number of applications for this technology including environmental monitoring, investigating chemical emissions from consumer products, and the automotive sector, forensic analysis, detection of chemical warfare agents, and even disease diagnosis.

The focus of this work will be the development of new materials and methods for in-situ extraction, and trapping of low levels of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds from various media which are then processed through GCMS. Markes are particularly interested in developing phases for sorptive extraction. This can be immersive or headspace sampling and make use of phase chemistries for example, that have both hydrophilic and lipophilic properties to extract wide ranging polarities of molecules.

The crucial aspect of this research is the shape of the absorbers (Form factors) to ensure that they are compact and compatible with automated chemical sampling methods. Development and manufacture also relies on reproducibility and repeatability of the developed products together with precise and accurate measurements across replicates. These absorbers will be comprised of polymeric binder and sorbent powder which are blended into a coating. Absorption performance depends on:

  • Sorbent characteristics of powders, polymers and combinations
  • Homogeneity of blended or mixed materials
  • The use of mesh support for robustness
  • Thermal stability of materials for use in thermal desorption
  • Uniformity of coating thickness 

This project will therefore seek to investigate these attributes so that systems can give world-leading sensitivities and performance across a diverse range of analytes.

This project is a partnership, with sorbent preparation steps (mixing, deposition) carried out in Swansea University and sorbent testing and verification performed at the nearby Markes International facility.

We recommend that you submit your application as early as you can in advance of the final scholarship deadline of 2 September 2022 as we may close earlier if sufficient number of applications are received.

Eligibility

Candidates must normally hold a minimum undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University), or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level.

We would normally expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application. 

Candidates must have the legal right to live/work in the UK at the start of their studies (student visas do not apply).

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