PhD position in Novel polymers from renewable feedstocks: synthesis, catalysis, and applications with University of Bath and UK Catalysis Hub

Applications are invited for a 3.5 year PhD studentship across the Davidson and Buchard groups in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, UK. In this project you will develop innovative synthetic and catalytic methodologies to produce novel monomers and polymers for sustainable materials, and investigate their applications, in collaboration with industrial partners. The monomers targeted will combine natural molecules (e.g., sugars) and their derivatives (e.g., furans) with diverse functional groups and linkages (e.g., esters, carbonates, amides). These monomers will be polymerised using a range of polymerisation techniques (e.g., ring-opening polymerization, polycondensation) and the analysis of the resulting materials (thermal, mechanical, degradability) undertaken to establish their structure/properties relationship. Natural sugars are non-toxic, biodegradable, biocompatible, abundant, and a diverse resource which is highly functionalisable. By incorporating sugar units into polymer backbones, these desirable features can be imparted to the resulting polymers, and their properties can be adjusted to meet specific material needs. Furans are sugar derivatives that are promising monomers for the replacement of petrochemical feedstocks in semi-aromatic polyesters and aramids.

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