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PhD Studentship: Next Generation NMR Techniques for Decoupling Flow & Diffusion in Porous Media

University of Cambridge - Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cambridge
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Includes a stipend
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 21st July 2022
Closes: 14th August 2022
Reference: NQ32334

Next generation NMR techniques for decoupling flow & diffusion in porous media

Please note that the application is for a studentship only, and it does not include an offer of admission to the University. The successful applicant would be expected to formally apply for admission and subsequently meet any conditions of admission set forth. Please see our course’s minimum admissions criteria before applying for this studentship to see if you would qualify for admission.

Understanding fluid flow in porous media at a hierarchy of different length scales is of fundamental importance in many areas of materials science and industrial process technology. A common measurement problem associated with understanding many of these processes is the decoupling of advective flow and diffusive motion. For example, there is a desire to acquire experimental measurements that separate diffusive and advective flow in, for example, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis which has the potential to produce carbon neutral synthetic fuels when made from green hydrogen. Our recent work1 on FT synthesis can be applied to many areas of heterogenous catalysis to better understand diffusion and mass transfer phenomena that occur within the reactor at the catalyst pellet scale. The information form magnetic resonance studies provides reaction engineers with quantitative information to optimise both reactor design and conditions.

The aim of this project is to develop a range of magnetic resonance techniques which have the potential to separate advective and diffusion mass transport for slow fluid flows (1~10 mm s-1).  A number of approaches will be adopted including new experimental methods, non-linear acquisition strategies and novel data processing.

The range of experimental approaches will include methods to prolong the lifetime of the NMR signal, such as by magnetic dilution and/or isotopic substitution, and reducing the molecular self-diffusion of the species of interest. These experimental approaches will be combined with the non-linear acquisition and processing strategies. Once optimal methods have been developed and assessed, they will be incorporated into spatially resolved measurements using sensing techniques developed within the group.

The magnetic resonance research centre at the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology in Cambridge is a world class facility housing a vibrant and diverse research group. The are 8 superconducting NMR/MRI instruments along with a number of lower field permanent magnet systems that cover a large range of magnetic fields. This project includes a 3.5 year Ph.D studentship. We will consider applications from outstanding overseas candidates.

  1. 10.1021/acs.analchem.1c04295; 10.1021/acs.analchem.1c04295; 10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c07440; 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b05600

For information on how to apply for the studentship, please visit: https://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/36093/. Please note that applications must be received by 14 August, and we are unable to consider late or incomplete applications.

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