PhD Position in Flow-Structure-Properties Relations for Pickering Emulsions
Catholic University of Leuven Department of Chemical Engineering
Belgium

The PhD project will be performed in the Soft Matter Rheology and Technology (SMaRT) section in the Chemical Engineering Department at KU Leuven under the supervision of Prof. Ruth Cardinaels. The research in the SMaRT group is mostly of experimental nature and aims at designing methodologies for intelligent process or product (formulation) design using so-called “complex fluids” or “soft matter”. Extensive state-of-the-art and home-built experimental facilities for the characterization of viscoelastic properties in the liquid state (bulk as well as interfacial rheology), combined with various techniques to characterize microstructure development during flow are available. Moreover, the lab is equipped with all major types of commercial 3D printing devices as well as several in-house adapted devices.

Project

For many applications, polymers have substantial advantages as compared to other materials, e.g. they are light-weight, flexible, easy to process and corrosion-resistant. Additional functionality can be introduced by the addition of conductive or magnetic particles. Thereby, materials can be developed for energy harvesting, electric discharge protection, electromagnetic shielding or soft robotics. However, the resulting properties are strongly dependent on the dispersion and distribution of the nanoparticles whereby multiphasic structures are of particular importance since the microstructure can act as a template to tailor the particle distribution by means of selective localization at the interface. The network formation of the particles at the interface will govern the dynamics of the interface as well as its dielectric and electromagnetic properties. This will in turn determine the development of the bulk microstructure and therefore the bulk dielectric and electromagnetic properties. In the proposed research project, the relations between on the one hand flow conditions and material properties and on the other hand the properties of the particle-covered interface will first be investigated. Subsequently, these interfacial properties will be related to the developed microstructure in the bulk system.  Thereto, various in-situ and time-resolved techniques such as bulk and interfacial rheology as well as microfluidics, will be used. Finally, the dielectric and electromagnetic properties of the generated pickering emulsions will be studied to develop rational design strategies for the generation of functional multiphasic materials.

Profile

  • You are recently graduated or will soon graduate with a master degree in chemical engineering, materials science, physics or a related discipline
  • You have excellent analytical skills, high grades and you are a creative and critical thinker.
  •  You are highly motivated to start your career in research and to pursue a PhD degree during a four year research period.
  • You can work with precision and like hands-on laboratory work.
  • You have prior experience in experimental research obtained during project or thesis work, preferably in the area of soft matter.
  • Experience with microfluidics and/or interfacial rheology is a plus.
  • You are able to report your progress in an accurate and timely fashion.
  • You have excellent communication skills, with fluency in both written and spoken English.

Offer

  • Full-time PhD position with a competitive salary and additional benefits such as health insurance, access to university sports facilities, etc.
  • The opportunity to work and live in one of the most innovative universities and cities in Europe. Leuven is located 20 min from Brussels, in the centre of Europe.
  • International working environment and possibility to present your work on international conferences.
  • A state-of-the-art experimental infrastructure.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will participate in the Arenberg Doctoral School doctoral training program (Doctoral Training – Arenberg Doctoral School (kuleuven.be))
  • You will get the opportunity to deepen your rheology knowledge via participation in the European School on Rheology and other relevant summer schools.

Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Ruth Cardinaels, tel.: +32 16 32 16 88, mail: ruth.cardinaels@kuleuven.be.

Candidates can apply by submitting their CV, motivation letter and gradelists via the online application tool. Please also include the names and contact details of at least two senior researchers that are willing to write a letter of recommendation upon request.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

You can apply for this job no later than March 15, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: March 15, 2021
  • Tags: Chemische Ingenieurstechnieken


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