Applicants should have an equivalent of first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, science (chemistry/physics) or engineering or closely related field. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders, with an interest for industrial research.
Months of entry
Natural polymers like cellulose, chitin, chitosan, alginate are one of the most abundant and renewable polymer with robust mechanical properties. However large scale utilization of cellulose/chitin/chitosan has not been possible because it leaves a large environmental footprint due to the hazardous solvents used during its extraction/processing. Also, cellulose/chitin/chitosan fibres have traditionally been used for mono-functional task such as a material for designing textiles.
The main focus of the proposed research project is to develop multifunctional (electrically conducting) and high performance biopolymer textiles. We have developed an environmentally benign method for manufacturing of cellulose fibres using ionic liquid as a “green” solvent [Rahatekar et al, Polymer, 2010; Zhu et al, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 2016; Singh et al, Nanoscale, 2017]. Ionic liquids can act as solvent to dissolve conducting polymer such as polyaniline. As a part of this project, we aim to use ionic liquids as a common solvent for dissolving biopolymer (such as cellulose) and polyaniline to produce electrically conducting textile fibres using wet spinning and electrospinning process. Such a textile fibre can be used in a smart shirt which can measure the body temperature and heart rate of a patient or as a soft biocompatible electrode for stimulation of neurons. We will also explore adding natural products such as curcumin (extract from turmeric) which is shown to be effective in antimicrobial and anti-cancerous properties to develop bandage for anti-microbial and potentially help increase the immune response for fighting cancerous cells.
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Dr. Sameer S Rahatekar