Developing renewable strategies to overcome physical aging of polymers

A PhD project is available for developing new strategies to overcome physical aging of polymers – the bane of many applications within chemical engineering.  The successful applicant will work closely together with a collaborative network of researchers designing next-generation anti-aging polymer membranes.

Project Overview

The plastics and chemical manufacturing industries are major economic pillars of the UK economy, supporting 6200 companies with a workforce of 120,000.  To maintain the status as a global leader in these industries, there is a need to continually innovate and develop new products to support other industries.  For example, state-of-the-art microporous organic polymers can be deployed as polymer membranes for carbon capture or waste water treatment.  Unfortunately, these advanced polymers have not been widely deployed in the industry.  This is ascribed to a lack of separation performance longevity and poor resistance to organic solvents due to polymer chain mobility.   This PhD project aims to overcome these issues plaguing advanced these state-of-the-art polymers by:

  • Development of cost-effective polymer crosslinking methods to overcome polymer physical aging
  • Stimulating the rejuvenation of aged polymer films with renewable resources
  • Understanding and inhibiting polymer chain movements via physical and chemical modifications


The PhD candidate will fulfil these research objectives through:

  • Discovery of new porous materials that are compatible with existing materials
  • Transforming well-established age renewal methods for polymers with renewable resources
  • Benchmark new materials against commercial products to provide valuable insight to real-world scientific problems

Research and Training

This research will oversee the discovery of new materials and its transformation into a product viable for industry-scale separation.  The candidate will also work closely with UK-based industrial partners such as Purolite, and international partners like CSIRO, Australia.  This is an exceptional opportunity for PhD students that will encompass:

  • Collaboration with industries and a large interdisciplinary network of world-class researchers
  • Opportunities to present latest data in national/international conferences
  • Discovery and development of new materials that will benefit targeted applications

Closing Date: 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Our vision for the PhD project

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


Further information and other funding options 

Interested applicants must secure their own funding for this project

Informal Enquiries: