Details of the PhD project
This PhD project is part of a bigger, Dutch academic-industrial research program consisting of multiple PhD research projects. The main objective of this bigger research program is to develop and explore novel chemical routes for the recycling of polyolefins. In this context, efficient and effective separation technology is essential to obtain the products in sufficiently pure form for reuse and to recycle unused products and reaction solvent back to the reactor.
Following on that, this specific PhD project will focus on the design, development and application of liquid crystalline polymer membranes for the separation of components in non-aqueous environments, i.e. the separation of polar/apolar and carboxylic acid/polyolefin mixtures. The final aim is the development of a generic separation platform technology based on liquid crystalline materials for separations in organic media.
Liquid crystalline polymer materials can self-organize into structures with well-defined isoporosity that potentially allows separation at molecular level. Combined with their strong hydrophobic nature and possibilities to crosslink the formed structures, this allows control over the swelling of the material. The major challenge is the formation of organized structures over larger length scales and the identification of structure-property relationships and with that control over the membrane separation performance in non-aqueous environments. This project thus involves synthesis of the liquid crystalline materials, materials processing to form the desired membrane morphologies, followed by membrane characterization and performance analysis using model solutions. Ultimately, integration of the developed membrane separation process with the developed novel chemical routes for the recycling of polyolefins (other PhD projects of this program) is envisaged. Mutual collaboration with the other researchers and project partners is thus encouraged.
Membrane Materials and Processes at Eindhoven University of Technology
The research will be conducted at the interface between the research groups Membrane Materials and Processes (MM/P) and Stimuli-responsive Functional Materials and Devices (SFD), both part of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e (The Netherlands).
The research group MM/P focuses on the design, development, characterization and application of polymer membranes and porous electrodes to control mass transport in sustainable processes. The research combines and integrates materials chemistry, materials engineering and process technology. Application areas are water and energy, with a strong focus on the recovery and reuse of resources, the valorization of waste streams and energy efficiency. ‘Closing cycles’ and ‘value from waste’ are leading themes in the research program. Next to fundamental academic research, application-oriented research in close collaboration with the industry is stimulated.
The research group SFD develops liquid crystalline polymers with new responsive functionalities and integrates these into devices, to meet industrial and societal challenges in the fields of sustainable energy, healthcare, and personal comfort.
The TU/e offers academic education that is driven by fundamental and applied research. We combine scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Our educational philosophy is based on personal attention and room for individual ambitions and talents. Our research meets the highest international standards of quality. We push the limits of science, which puts us at the forefront of rapidly emerging areas of research.
- We are looking for a talented, motivated and enthusiastic researcher
- Preferably, candidates have a strong background and interest in both chemistry and chemical engineering with experience in synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry and materials engineering or an equivalent at master (MSc) level
- Candidates should have a scientific attitude combined with a hands-on mentality and interest for application-oriented research at industrial partner locations
- Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are valuable properties
- You are a naturally curious person who is eager to learn more and has a strong interest in research.
- Excellent communication skills in English are a prerequisite.
- We prefer candidates with a good team spirit, who like to work in an internationally oriented, social environment.
An interview, a scientific presentation and a writing assignment are part of the selection procedure.
Conditions of employment
- A meaningful job in a highly motivated team at a dynamic and ambitious University. You will be part of a highly profiled multidisciplinary collaboration where expertise of a variety of disciplines comes together. The TU/e is located in one of the smartest regions of the world en part of the European technology hotspot ‘Brainport Eindhoven’; well-known because of many high-tech industries and start-ups. A place to be for talented scientists!
- A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
- To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
- To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
- A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
- Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
- Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility’, which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
- A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
- Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.