EPSRC supported EngD project Engineered Particles for Surface Enhancement

Unilever Port Sunlight and the University of Birmingham, Centre for Formulation Engineering.

Tax free bursary of £20,600 p.a. plus fees paid

This project will build on the work carried out as part of a current EngD investigating the performance of abrasive cleaning formulations with regard to stain removal and surface scratching, but also look to expand the use of engineered particles into other Home and Personal Care (HPC) applications.

A major portion of the work would centre on understanding the role of mineral abrasive powders on the cleaning function, and investigate the effect of particle size distribution, mineralogy (in terms of hardness, shape and compressive strength) on performance. The role of mixed mineral formulations will be studied with a view to assessing the potential for stain cleaning and surface polishing to be carried out in a single treatment.

Use will be made of Birmingham’s experience in surface coating mineral particles with engineered titanium dioxide that can perform a specific role in the cleaning process (i.e. a high abrasion anatase coating) by control of the formulation conditions and calcination temperature.  These coated particles will also be investigated as pigments for improving the appearance of surfaces, and as sunscreens for providing UV protection to surfaces.

Another portion of the project will be to look at other coated particles, such as high surface area cenospheres, for providing benefits to HPC-relevant surfaces.  The use of particles of different sizes and shapes to improve packing on surfaces will also be considered.

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The project is suitable for a freshly graduated Chemical Engineer or Chemist. The expertise and equipment required for the study are already available at Unilever Port Sunlight. However, it is anticipated that the student would be based largely in Birmingham, to have better access to the particle engineering expertise there, but would spend long periods at Port Sunlight to investigate potential applications. The work would contribute to the development and better understanding of the action of abrasive cleaners on stains and hopefully develop new formulations that will be commercially implemented, and would also investigate the feasibility of delivering appearance and protection benefits to HPC-relevant substrates from engineered particles.

To be eligible for EPSRC funding candidates must have at least a 2(1) in an Engineering or Scientific discipline or a 2(2) plus MSc. Please email your c.v. to r.w.greenwood@bham.ac.uk. by clicking the APPLY button below. For more details on the Engineering Doctorate scheme please visit http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/chemical-engineering/postgraduate/eng-d/index.aspx

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