A deep dive into the understanding of the water adsorption hysteresis phenomena in porous materials

Water is an essential molecule for life. It is omnipresent on Earth and in various forms. This provides the opportunity to harvest water even if it is not present as a liquid, for example, in arid regions. On the other hand, the presence of water, even at very low concentrations, poses serious challenges when a product needs to be dry, for example, to avoid condensation and formation of acidic components during pipeline transportation of CO2. Adsorption on porous materials provides effective solutions for those challenges. Porous materials can concentrate water in their pores very efficiently, which holds great potential for water harvesting. Also, porous materials can reduce the water content in gasses very efficiently to sub-ppm levels. The fundamental understanding of adsorption principles is of paramount importance for the proper selection of porous materials and the development of adsorption-based applications. Therefore, in this context, the PhD candidate will explore in-depth water adsorption phenomena on porous materials, and in particular the peculiarity of adsorption hysteresis. The candidate will design and build a dedicated setup to study water adsorption thermodynamics and diffusion processes in porous materials and relate the obtained results to material properties. The project is in collaboration with an industrial partner and will also involve a secondment to their research centre.

Please note, the closing date is 31st January 2024 but this position may close earlier if a suitable candidate is found.


Brandani S. and Mangano E. Direct Measurement of the Mass Transport Coefficient of Water in Silica-Gel Using the Zero Length Column Technique, Energy, 2022, 239A, 121945


Centineo A. and Brandani S. Measurement of Water Vapor Adsorption Isotherms in Mesoporous Materials Using the Zero Length Column Technique. Chem. Eng. Sci., 2020, 115417   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ces.2019.115417


Further Information: 

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/equality-diversity

Closing Date: 

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. 

An undergraduate degree in chemical engineering or related subject.

Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Tuition fees + stipend are available for Home and International students

To qualify as a Home student, you must fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • You are a UK applicant.
  • You are an EU applicant with settled/pre-settled status who also has 3 years residency in the UK/EEA/Gibraltar/Switzerland immediately before the start of your programme.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: