Certain nanomaterials, particularly carbon nanotubes (CNTs), offer the potential for fundamental improvements in mechanical performance and associated weight reduction in composite structures. Individual perfect CNTs have been shown to have a significantly higher strength than any other known material, combined with excellent stiffness, high lateral flexibility, high aspect ratio, and low weight; in addition, CNTs have good electrical and thermal conductivities, and interesting optoelectronic characteristics, all relevant to (multi)functional composite performance. Assemblies based on pure CNTs, high loading contents and high aspect ratios have demonstrated significant promise, providing reports of the toughest/strongest fibres and prospects for a real step change in certain composite properties. Nevertheless, macroscopic exploitation of CNTs in composites has been limited by challenges associated with the availability of intrinsically high quality CNTs in quantity, the need for processing methods that deliver good dispersion (and alignment), and chemical modification to maximise matrix compatibility and interfacial adhesion. This project will develop, in collaboration with industrial partners, new approaches to the dispersion, chemical modification, and solution-phase processing of high quality, ultra-long CNTs with the goal of producing practically-relevant high performance composites.
This PhD studentship will be available from October 2011. The award will cover tuition fees and a tax-free maintenance stipend (including London weighting and industrial CASE top-up) of around £18,000 per year. The project is a collaboration with a UK company, and will involve interactions with a number of partners. The funding is available to home (UK) students; EU students with an appropriate connection to the UK will also be eligible for full support; other EU students will be eligible for partial support only; overseas students are not eligible for support. Applications are invited from students with an appropriate background in physical science, with an interest in nanomaterials. Candidates should have received or expect to receive at least a 2:1, or equivalent, in their first degree.
To apply for any of these project please send a c.v. and details of at least two referees to Prof. Milo Shaffer, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AZ; m.shaffer ‘at' imperial.ac.uk