PhD Opportunity: Dynamics of evaporation of complex nanoparticle mixtures

PhD Supervisor: Dr Jovana Radulovic

Application Deadline: 30/09/2013

Funding Availability: Open to UK/EU/Overseas applicants. Studentships will cover University fees (at UK/EU or overseas rate), plus a stipend for 3.5 years at the enhanced EPSRC rate (£14,640 for 2013/14). 

Research Area: Materials & Processes

Project description: Nanoparticles of various chemical natures have attracted significant research interest over the last few decades. Metallic nano-oxide in particular have proven to be of importance mostly due their promising use in improving heat transfer applications, but also due to potential revolution in numerous surface/bio-science projects. Evaporation of a liquid droplet is a fundamental problem with a wide variety of practical applications, ranging from industrial processes (printing, drying and coating) to agriculture (crop spraying) and biology (DNA microarray analysis). In recent years there has been intensive international research effort on various aspects of droplet evaporation, with a strong emphasis on the complex solutions. The role played by surfactants in the wetting process has been extensively studied because of its huge potential applications. However, nanoparticles can also exhibit a certain degree of interfacial activity. Additionally, surfactants are often employed to combat the biggest drawback of nanoparticle dispersion- tendency to segregate and phase separation, but it is not always obvious how these two specials interact. While the evaporation of droplets containing nanoparticles has been largely studied, the understanding of formation of observed patterns of nanoparticle deposits is an ever-expanding knowledge frontier with vast potential in numerous industries. 

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This project is primarily an in-depth experimental investigation of evaporative behaviour of nanoparticle-based complex fluids with the aim to reveal the underlying mechanisms of combined wetting and evaporation processes. A combination of analytical and experimental methods will be needed to investigate and analyse evaporative behaviour of liquids containing different nanoparticle species with additives on solid surfaces of varying hydrophobicity and roughness. The experimental findings should be quantified by developing suitable mathematical models; therefore, an ideal candidate would have a strong theoretical background and some modelling skills. The formation of solid patterns will be investigated using microscopy techniques.  

Eligibility and qualifications: Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit: a first class or upper second class honours undergraduate degree (or International equivalent) is the minimum qualification requirement.

To undertake this research, we are seeking a motivated candidate with a degree in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering or Materials Science. Exceptionally, we will consider a strong candidate with Physical Chemistry background.

Experience in experimental work and an ability to work effectively with researchers are essential. 

Please apply here:

Select the Research Area referred to in the advert and clearly state on your application form which project you are applying for and the relevant supervisor.

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