PhD projects for September 2019 start - Cohort 1
Basic Aerosol Processes
Aerosols and Health
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PhD projects are available at all seven institutions, the Univerities of Bristol, Bath, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Leeds and Manchester.
Each studentship has a primary academic supervisor for the PhD project at the home institution (first name in listing below). A second academic supervisor (for some PhDs at a second institution as specified) will host the student towards the end of year 1 for a thematic broadening research sabbatical. Both academic supervisors are identified alongside the project.
All PhD projects and sabbaticals are in different thematic areas of aerosol science. The five themes are: basic aerosol proecsses; measurement techniques; aerosols and health; aerosol technology; and environmental aerosol. The primary theme of the PhD project is indicated.
University of Bristol
Dynamic Surface Properties of Atmospheric Aerosol and Resulting Climate Impacts
Dr. Bryan Bzdek and Dr. Matthew Watson (Bristol). The surface tension of atmospheric aerosols impacts their ability to serve as cloud droplet seeds and affect climate. You will develop approaches to measure droplet surface tensions and better resolve dynamics at the particle surface, working closely with modellers.
Optical Extinction Measurements of Single Absorbing Aerosol Particles
Prof. Andrew Orr-Ewing and Dr. Adam Squires (Bath). The contribution of organic aerosol to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere remains uncertain because particle composition and morphology affect the absorption of sunlight. Using a recently developed spectroscopic apparatus, you will measure precise optical properties of single, trapped aerosol particles
Evaporation and Condensation of Water in Glassy and Crystalline Aerosol Particles
Prof. Jonathan Reid and Dr. David Topping (Manchester). Slow diffusion of molecules in viscous particles impacts on atmospheric aerosol compositions, the micro-structures of particles from spray drying and the dynamics of drug particles on inhalation. Through experiments and modelling, you will investigate the dynamics of mass transfer between the particle and gas phases.
Damage to jet engines by airborne particulates; Detection and mitigation
Dr. Matthew Watson and Dr. Paul Williams (Manchester). Mineral aerosols, such as volcanic ash and desert dust, present significant but uncertain risk to jet aircraft. To constrain this uncertainty you will design, build and test a jet engine simulator that will emulate engine conditions and will be field tested in a real world environment. The denouement of your work be flying the simulator into desert storms and volcanic ash clouds on drones.
Improving our understanding of aerosol formation, transformation and lifetime in the atmosphere
Prof. Jonathan Reid and Dr. David Topping (Manchester). Understanding the partitioning of molecular constituents between the gas and particle phases is central to the whole endeavour of aerosol science. You will apply ultra-sensitive techniques to investigate the volatilisation of low and semi-volatile components from aerosol particles, their response to humidity and temperature, and refining predictive tools crucial for understanding air quality.
University of Bath
Aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition (AACVD) of inorganic and hybrid materials
Dr. Andrew Johnson and Dr. Adam Squires (Bath). This project will use aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition (AA-CVD) to develop inorganic and hybrid semiconducting materials e.g. SnS, Sb2S3 and FeS2 by the in-situ decomposition of soluble molecular precursors. The project offers a combination of chemical synthesis and aerosol/materials characterisation
Aerosols in a humid atmosphere
Dr. Adam Squires and Prof. Rob Price (Bath). You will study structural changes within aerosol particles as they dry or take up humidity from the air using model systems representing different atmospheric and industrial processes, and pharmaceutical molecules for inhalers. You will develop new instrumentation, to give you new data, which you will use to develop theoretical models.
University of Cambridge
Filtration of Charged Aerosols
Dr. Adam Boies and Dr.Catherine Noakes (Leeds). Conveying and generation of powders can lead to very high levels of charge on particles, affecting their transport agglomeration and ultimate removal from the environment. Through modelling and experiments you will seek to optimize collection of particles in filtration processes accounting for and manipulating electrostatic charge.
Aerosol Measurement Technologies: Multi-Sensor Platforms
Dr. Simone Hochgreb and Dr. Marc Stettler (Imperial). The size of aerosol particles span from sub-nanometer to 100 µm, ranging 6 orders of magnitude. To measure particles over such a broad range of length scales, different instruments must be used relying on different fundamental sensing principles. This project seeks to cover a broad range of size measurements for particle pollution measurement by combining multiple sensing technologies. The work builds on existing technologies invented by the project partners, Cambridge and Alphasense, to expand measurement capabilities to broader ranges.
Non-uniform emission of pollutants and mixing in vehicle wakes
Dr. Megan Davies Wykes and Dr. Adam Boies (Cambridge). The emission of pollutants by vehicles from both exhaust and non-exhaust sources varies significantly in time, particularly in city driving where vehicles stop and start frequently. This project will examine the effect of time variation in vehicle emission rates using reduced-scale laboratory experiments, vehicle emission models and field measurements.
Modelling and experimentation of particle formation in floating catalyst chemical vapour deposition
Dr. Simone Hochgreb and Prof. Andrew Orr-Ewing (Bristol). Carbon nanotube fibers superior specific properties of strength, thermal and electrical conductivity. They are produced by a high temperature catalytic nucleation process, which is poorly understood. This project will investigate the process using experimental (visualisation, spectroscopy, sampling) and numerical (reacting flow CFD) tools to understand how to increase process yield.
Modelling the plasma synthesis of graphene
Prof. Markus Kraft and Dr. Bryan Bzdek (Bristol). Plasma synthesis offers a potential route for the bulk synthesis of graphene. The choice of process conditions and reactants is critical to avoid undesirable defects in the carbon structure. Through modelling, you will investigate the processes controlling the formation of graphene in plasmas.
University of Hertfordshire
Collection methods for early detection of airborne viruses
Prof. Daniel McCluskey and Prof. Catherine Noakes (Leeds). A primary transport mechanism for many diseases is via aerosol. Appropriate disease protection measures can only be effectively applied with suitable monitoring. Through experiments and modelling, you will investigate aerosol capture mechanisms for effective real-time monitoring of disease transportation.
Particle engineering approaches to control the interaction of medicinal aerosols with the humid lung
Prof. Darragh Murnane and Prof. Jonathan Reid (Bristol). Inhaled aerosols encounter an environment in the lung which is humid and saturated with water vapour. This project will exploit modelling, single particle measurements, and pharmaceutical analytical approaches to understand how material properties affect the interaction of medicinal aerosols with water vapour in the lung.
Extraction and Detection of Asbestos Fibres in Soil
Dr. Chris Stopford and Prof. Daniel McCluskey (Herts). Asbestos fibres are released from soil during construction & remediation works. You will develop a technique for automatic extraction fibres into an aerosol, then apply a range of real-time optical measurement techniques to positively identify the presence of asbestos.
Real-time measurement of respirable fibres using light scattering techniques
Dr. Chris Stopford and Prof. Rob Price (Bath). Analysis of light scattering patterns from airborne respirable fibres could yield key indicators of toxicity. You will develop hardware to capture these patterns and algorithms to extract the salient information, then integrate into a model lung to determine health impact.
Characterization of atmospheric particulates using 2D scattering
Dr. Joseph Ulanowski and Dr. David Topping (Manchester). 2D scattering can provide information on single aerosol or cloud particles that are too small to be adequately imaged. You will explore the potential of 2D scattering to provide particle shape, including roughness and roundness, both of which are important in the atmospheric and industrial contexts.
Imperial College London
Aerosol deposition in the sinunasal airways – from the infant to the adult
Prof. Denis Doorly and Dr. Alberto Gambaruto (Bristol). The project investigates aerosol transport and deposition in the olfactory cleft and sinuses of children and adults. Computational modeling and experimental techniques will be developed and applied to study how inhaled aerosols, particularly nanoparticles, are transported and where they deposit in the complex geometry of these airways.
Inhalable nanomedicines for treatment of tuberculosis
Prof. Terry Tetley and Dr. Alexandra Porter (Imperial). Tuberculosis(TB) causes ~1.8M deaths/year. Treatment often leads to multidrug resistance. This multidisciplinary PhD aims to develop an aerosolised, inhalable nanomedicine (and novel human lung cell TB infection models) to co-deliver first line anti-tuberculous drugs embedded within antibacterial zinc oxide nanoparticles to the M.tb inside host macrophages within the respiratory zone.
University of Leeds
Structure formation in drying droplets
Prof. Andrew Bayly and Prof. Jonathan Reid (Bristol). When solution or suspension droplets dry a rich variety of particle structures evolve, the nature of these multiscale structures controls the powders characteristics. You will use a combination of experimental, theoretical and modelling techniques to understand and predict the fascinating behaviours observed.
Correlating kinetics of uptake/production of gas-phase species with aerosol properties
Prof. Dwayne Heard and Dr. David Topping (Manchester). Chemical transformations at aerosol surfaces influence both their composition and properties, as well as the composition of the surrounding gas. Through experiments using an aerosol flow-tube and chamber, together with modelling, you will investigate the kinetics and dynamics of both the uptake and production of reactive intermediates at aerosol surfaces.
The size, sources and transport of the seeds of ice in clouds
Prof. Ben Murray and Prof. Catherine Noakes (Leeds). Our knowledge of the special aerosol particles which trigger ice formation in clouds is extremely poor. You will make some of the first ever measurements of ice nucleating particle size in order to better understand their transport.
Optical Properties of Venusian Clouds
Prof. John Plane and Prof. Jonathan Reid (Bristol). Venus is completely shrouded by clouds of sulphuric acid droplets. Through experiments and atmospheric modelling, you will investigate the mysterious blue absorption in the upper clouds which is responsible for the yellowish appearance of the planet, and the cause of the optical glories observed by orbiting spacecraft.
Prof. Andrew Bayly. Entering an area contaminated with a hazardous deposited aerosol adds risk to first responder operations. If the probability of resuspension could be predicted based on activity, that risk could be mitigated. Through a coupled modelling and experimental program you will investigate the physical factors that affect resuspension and incorporate these into a validated predictive model.
University of Manchester
Determining the effects of airborne particulates on immune and barrier epithelial cell function
Prof. Sheena Cruickshank and Dr. Alberto Gambaruto (Bristol). Airborne pollution is a complex mixture of biological and chemical sources but their specific effects on immune function are relatively poorly understood. This exciting cross disciplinary project will define the components of pollutants and explore their impact on immune cells
Building flexible biological particle detection algorithms for emerging real-time instrumentation
Dr. David Topping and Dr. Chris Stopford (Herts). Whilst the importance of biological particles in the environment, human health and as a potential security threat is known, development of robust detection technologies remains a challenge. In this project you will apply and evaluate a range of machine learning techniques to to convert multidimensional signatures from new and emerging detection techniques into distinct PBA types.
Particle Transport and Losses in Sampling Aircraft Gas Turbine Engine Combustion Emissions
Dr. Paul Williams (Manchester) and Dr. Adam Boies (Cambridge). The transport and losses of particles from an engine combustor remain highly uncertain. Through a combination of rig test measurements and modelling, these will be assessed to better understand the environmental impacts of aviation emissions