PhD student-Designing the industrial synthesis of functional polymeric materials substitutes - Belgium
- Scale-up is performed for the synthesis of functional polymeric materials. Both non-dispersed (e.g. bulk/solution) and dispersed polymerization (e.g. emulsion) are considered.
- Main focus is on radical polymerization techniques.
- Radical polymerization processes play an important role in everyday life.
- Currently, there is a trend to increase the product quality by expanding the application range to high-tech applications.
- For the latter, an excellent microstructural control is required and this for each molecule in the polymerization reactor.
- Typically this microstructural control is achieved via an exchange of a functional group X, selecting nitroxide mediated polymerization (NMP) as controlled radical polymerization technique (CRP). CRP allows the synthesis of well-tailored next-generation specialty copolymer architectures due to a better control over the molecular parameters, such as the chain length, functionality and topology.
- Targeted applications are for instance coatings, drug delivery systems and adhesives.
- Numerous publications have been attributed to understanding the CRP kinetics at lab-scale under isothermal conditions and in bulk/solution.
- However, less attention has been given to the reactor design, simulation, optimization and control of these CRPs under industrial conditions, which can involve intensive heat transfer and stirrer work.
- The study of CRPs in reactors and their non-isothermal operation is an important requirement for CRP processes to find their way into large scale commercial products.
- A key aspect to be covered is a comparison of conventional non-dispersed (bulk/solution) and dispersed (suspension/emulsion) CRPs.
- The former are less complex but suffer from strong temperature gradients whereas the latter are more complex but allow a better heat transfer due to the presence of an aqueous continuous phase.
- Comparison of polymerization kinetics under non-dispersed and dispersed CRP conditions, considering industrially relevant monomers and different reactor configurations.
- Both experimental and modeling techniques can be considered.
- Extension to copolymerization processes, involving the synthesis of block, gradient and star copolymers.
Profile of the candidate
- Applicants must possess a MSc in Chemical Engineering or related subject and a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 95(iBT) or equivalent.
- Relevant experience in the area of reactor engineering, kinetics, and/or computational chemistry is strongly recommended.
- Candidates must have a strong mathematical background and be willing to focus on obtaining quantitative rather than qualitative results.