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The University of Southampton

PhD Studentship available with Dr Robert Raja: Design of sustainable routes for producing nylon 6

PhD Studentship available with Dr Robert Raja: Design of Sustainable Routes for Producing Nylon-6.
Industrially-funded 36 Month PhD Studentship.
26 March 2012

This industrially-sponsored research project will involve the design of novel heterogeneous catalyst architectures for exploring sustainable routes that could lead to the production of ε-caprolactam, which is an important precursor in manufacture of Nylon-6.  Design strategies for synthesizing a range of novel framework architectures with a diverse array of pore diameters and tunable properties (in terms of active-site engineering) will be explored with a view to exploiting their cooperative and synergistic aspects in the production of ε-caprolactam.

The growing demand for clean and sustainable technology for producing bulk and fine-chemicals is one of the driving forces for seeking environmentally benign methods for generating industrially-valuable commodity chemicals.  An example of this is in the polymer industry (for the production of Nylon-6), where over 4 million tonnes of ε-caprolactam is currently produced per annum using methods that are not entirely environmentally sustainable.  This project will specifically focus on the development of a sustainable route that is not energy-intensive, mitigates the production of waste, generation of green-house gases, but more importantly, delivers the high activities and selectivities that could be potentially attractive to the development of an commercial process.
The project will be supervised by Dr Robert Raja at the University  of Southampton and industrial support will be provided by Honeywell Nylons (USA).    The successful applicant will join a well-established Research Group with state-of-the-art facilities for solid-state materials design, characterization and catalysis.  This proposed project seeks to maximize established industrial collaborations with a view to fostering sustainable innovations in research and technology.

Applicants should have, or expect to receive shortly, a good (preferably first or top 2:1) degree in Chemistry or a relevant discipline (e.g. Chemical Engineering) with a keen interest in materials chemistry and catalysis.  This is a fully-funded industrial scholarship that will cover fees (for UK/EU students only) and comes with a generous maintenance allowance.

Please contact Dr Robert Raja (Tel: +44-2380-592144) for informal enquiries and further information related to this project.

To obtain further information or to apply for this position, please contact Mrs. Chun Borodzicz, Postgraduate Admissions Administrator.

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