8.1 Development and scale-up of liquid crystalline based polymeric membranes with aligned uniform pores

Already since decades researchers attempt to mimic biological cell membranes to create membranes with well-defined, perpendicular pores applicable in large-scale technological applications such as water purification and selective ion removal. Recently, it was shown that liquid crystalline polymers can self-organize into molecular organization into membranes with films with homogeneous uniform straight-through pores. This project is dedicated to the development and engineering of such liquid crystalline, isoporous materials into membranes for water purification and selective recovery of e.g. valuable minerals and proteins and amino acids in the dairy industry.

Research challenge
This research uses the above-described polymer concept to develop the next generation polymer membranes with isoporous, straight pore. Different LC polymer chemistries and chemical modifications will be used to design membranes. The chemistry and the preparation method allow tuning of the membrane functionality, pore size, selectivity and fouling propensity for selected applications. Detailed chemical and membrane characterization is required to provide insight in the molecular organization and the membrane characterisatics of the synthesized polymers and membranes while at the same time these can be used to understand the membrane process performance in the real industrial application. The project exhibits a strong connection between membrane development, membrane characterization and the final industrial application using model solutions, artificial industrial feeds and real industrial feeds. The project requires a profound background in synthetic and polymer chemistry.

The department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology has an excellent track record in (liquid crystalline) polymer chemistry (Prof. Schenning) and membrane science and technology (Prof. Nijmeijer). This is combined with the strong multidisciplinary research character and industrial network of Wetsus. Extensive sophisticated state of the art facilities for polymer chemistry, membrane development, polymer and membrane characterization and membrane performance evaluation are available at both Wetsus and Eindhoven University of Technology.

We are looking for a candidate with a MSc degree in organic chemistry or polymer chemistry and a scientific attitude. Candidates with a MSc. degrees in membrane technology or a related field are also welcome to apply but should have a proven strong affinity with synthetic chemistry. The candidate should have excellent experimental and theoretical skills.

The PhD project will be executed within the Wetsus research theme Desalination. The following companies are part of this theme: DMT (NL), Esco (DE), FrieslandCampina (NL), FujiFilm (NL), Shell (NL), Van der Knaap (NL), Vitens (NL) and Yara (NL).

Promotor: Kitty Nijmeijer, Eindhoven University of Technology (Membrane materials and processes) and Prof. dr. Albert Schenning, Eindhoven University of Technology (Liquid crystalline polymer materials)

For more information contact: Jan Post ().

Please do NOT send your CV directly to this email address. Only complete applications sent via the website will be evaluated (How to Apply).

Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands combined with an extended stay at Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

combining scientific excellence with commercial relevance