P37 – Ultrafine Particle Deposition and Adhesion with Permeable Hydrophobic Surfaces

Closing Date: 31 December 2022Apply Now

PhD Scholarship

Supervisor: Professor Grant Webber - The ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals is seeking creative and innovative PhD applicants to join our national collaborative Centre, to develop transformational technologies to reduce energy and water consumption and increase metals recovery. This project will aim to demonstrate the benefits of using natural fibres to stabilise oil emulsions by allowing fluid to be exchanged across droplets surfaces.

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The Centre’s inclusive and equitable culture is supported by specific equity and diversity initiatives, which will support all members to achieve their career goals.

Both flotation and oil agglomeration possess major disadvantages especially regarding the size of the particles that are able to be captured. Small particles trend to follow the fluid streamlines and they are deviated from both bubbles and droplets. In these cases, in order to be able to capture ultrafine particles, the hydrophobic force needs to be strong enough to overcome the hydrodynamic resistance force and, possibly, the presence of an electrical double layer repulsion. Further to these physical limitations, the inability to reuse reagents, the majority of which are not environmentally friendly, as well as, the costs of oil, constitute major disadvantages of the current technologies. In order to solve these issues this project will aim to investigate the use of natural fibres to modify the hydrodynamics near the surfaces of droplets and bubbles and thus, allow the recovery of ultrafine particles (<30 μm).

The project will be based at the University of Newcastle (UoN) and supervised by Professor Grant Webber and Dr. Susana Brito e Abreu (University of Queensland).  The candidate will be trained in a number of experimental techniques such as agglomeration and mixing, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). AFM will be used to determine particle-droplet interactions while ToF-SIMS will allow for full characterisation of the mineral surfaces.

This project has the objective to improve the efficiency of fine particle beneficiation techniques as part of Program 1 (Physics of novel system hydrodynamics). Specifically, this project will make use of environmentally friendly and cheap materials and thus develop a novel and more efficient use of natural resources.

For more information on our Centre please visit www.coeminerals.org.au

PhD Scholarship details

Funding: $33,092 per annum (2020 rate). For a PhD candidate, the living allowance scholarship is for 3.5 years and the tuition fee scholarship is for four years. Scholarships also include up to $1,500 relocation allowance and Overseas Student Health Cover at single rate, for an international candidate.

Supervisor: Professor Grant Webber

Available to: Domestic and International students


Eligibility Criteria

The applicant will need to meet the minimum eligibility criteria for admission.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest along with scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project.

Please send the email expressing interest to Grant.Webber@newcastle.edu.au by 5pm on 31 December 2022.

Applications Close 31 December 2022 Apply Now

Contact Professor Grant Webber
Phone +61 2 4033 9067
Email Grant.Webber@newcastle.edu.au

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.