Advanced nanoporous materials for water purification

Lead supervisor: Dr Marco Conte, Chemistry
Co-supervisor(s): Professor Kirill Horoshenkov, Mechanical EngineeringDr Rino Mukti, Bandung Institute of TechnologyDr Veinardi Suendo, Bandung Institute of Technology

Deadline: Friday 10 March 2017

Applications for this project have now closed.

Project description

The provision of clean water is a global issue with societal, health, and economic implications. In fact, lack of clean drinking water affects millions of people worldwide and it is estimated that about only 10% of population in the world have access to clean water sources.

This project aims to develop novel heterogeneous catalysts with nanopores for the abatement of organic contaminants under mild conditions. These materials will provide significant improvements to water quality with an immediate impact on the health of large numbers of people.

A distinctive aspect of this project is the development of rigid foams for the deposition of zeolites crystals to increase the capability of these materials to process large volumes of water for large scale applications. This part of the project will make use of fast acoustic methods for pore size determination, which will be validated against conventional chemical adsorption methods.

This project consists of following phases of work: (i) development and coating or rigid foams for the deposition of zeolites crystals; (ii) incorporation of active metal centres inside the zeolite framework; (iii) catalytic tests in liquid phase for the decomposition of oxygenated aromatics, and chlorinated compounds, by using chromatographic techniques as characterization tools; and (iv) control and quantification of the porosity of the rigid foam by using advanced acoustic methods, and loop into improved catalysts design.

Parts (i) to (iii) will be carried out at the Chemistry Department at the University of Sheffield, under the supervision of Dr. Marco Conte, whereas phase (iv) will be carried out at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the same institution under the supervision of Prof. Kirill Horoshenkov.

All these stages will be supported via a collaboration with the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia, via the Department of Inorganic Chemistry, (Dr. Rino Mukti and Dr. Veinardi Suendo), who will provide expertise in electron microscopy, infrared and porosimetry methods.

The applicant is expected to be in possession of a first degree (or equivalent title) in chemistry by the start of the project, and to have knowledge of microporous/nanoporous materials; especially in the synthesis of zeolites and their characterization using X-ray diffraction and importantly porosimetry methods. A background in catalysis would be beneficial, involving testing of catalytic materials with particular emphasis for liquid phase systems, peroxide chemistry, and chromatographic techniques.

Keywords: applied catalysis, nanopores, water treatment, X-ray diffraction, porosimetry, chromatography.

Subject areas: physical chemistry, chemical engineering, nanotechnology, materials science, acoustics, environmental chemistry, mechanical engineering

Funding notes

This four-year studentship will be fully funded at Home/EU or international rates. Support for travel and consumables (RTSG) will also be made available at standard rate of £2,627 per annum, with an additional one-off allowance of £1,000 for a computer in the first year.  Students will receive an annual stipend of £17,336.