Renewable and waste low-grade heat will contribute to the future primary energy portfolio. Therefore, thermally-driven sorption systems that make use of sorption materials or fluids, are key in future technologies to obtain diverse useful effects such as heat transformation, long term heat storage, water purification, drying and many other processes. The term sorption is here intentionally kept general and indicates both adsorption (sorption in a nanoporous solid) and absorption (sorption in a liquid solvent). In all cases sorption indicates the presence of a bond between the sorbent and the sorbate. Many sorbents have been proposed over the last decades, the most promising being composite sorbents containing inorganic salts.
While inorganic salts have been widely explored, little is available on the water sorption characteristics of ionic liquid composites. The higher flexibility of ionic liquid synthesis as opposed to inorganic salts makes them attractive for multiple applications and can open to a totally new class of sorption composites.
In some recent investigations, ionic liquids have shown performance well above the best performing nanoporous materials. Unfortunately, the utilization of ionic liquids demands complex processes. These drawbacks can be avoided by synthesizing ionic liquids in form of gels, so eliminating the need of auxiliary equipment. Furthermore, the nano-confinement of ionic liquids enables the formation of preferentially oriented and self-assembled structures and properties yet unexplained.
This research is aimed at discovering new ionogels and their integration in stable structures that allow their utilization in the next generation of thermally-driven technologies.
Minimum entry qualification - an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering or Chemistry, at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent), possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.
i) knowledge of thermodynamics of fluid phase equilibria or physical chemistry;
ii) basic skills on utilization of one computational tool such as Matlab, Mathcad, Mathematica etc.
Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere. For exceptional UK students, there may EPSRC funding available.