PhD: Flow-induced structuring of emulsions and bijels stabilized by interfacially localized particles and crystals

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
March 31, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD: Flow-induced structuring of emulsions and bijels stabilized by

interfacially localized particles and crystals

(ref. BAP-2023-114)

Last modification : Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The PhD project will be performed in the Soft Matter Rheology and Technology (SMaRT) section in the Chemical Engineering Department at KU Leuven under the supervision of Profs. Erin Koos and Ruth Cardinaels. The research in the SMaRT group is primarily experimental and aims at designing methodologies for intelligent process or product (formulation) design using complex fluids and other soft matter materials. Extensive state-of-the-art and home-built experimental facilities for the characterization of mechanical properties in the liquid state (bulk as well as interfacial rheology), combined with various techniques to characterize microstructure development during flow are available.

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Many classes of soft matter consist of multiple phases such asliquid-in-liquid emulsions and blends, solid-in-liquid suspensions and gas-in-liquidfoams. In these materials, the internal microstructure can be exploited togenerate synergistic combinations of material properties or even to introducenovel material functionalities. Whereas most structures generated underequilibrium conditions are isotropic, anisotropy (i.e. directionally dependentfeatures) are often desired. Such anisotropy is typically generated during flow,and by clever manipulation of the timescales of relaxation and fixation of thegenerated structures, we can “freeze in” such anisotropy. In the presentproject, the aim is to develop emulsions with an anisotropic structure that is preservedby formation of a particle-covered or crystalline network at the interface.Under quiescent conditions, such structures are known as colloidosomes andcrystalsomes, but the effects of concurrent flow during microstructuregeneration remains largely unexplored. The aim is to develop a fundamentalunderstanding of the microstructure development that will allow to engineer themicrostructure by inducing controllable anisotropies. Therefore,state-of-the-art rheo-optical and rheo-spectroscopic characterization toolswill be used and modification of existing techniques is anticipated to be requiredto probe anisotropy. This PhD project forms part of the CONCIOUS (Controlled enhanced softmatter microstructures via the fundamental understanding of formation timescalecompetition) project within the SMaRT group, which involves a group of 4 PhDstudents, each focusing on a different class of soft matter materials.

  • You are recently graduated orwill soon graduate with a master degree in materials science, chemical engineering,physics or a related discipline.
  • You have excellent analyticalskills, high grades and you are a creative and critical thinker.
  • You are highly motivated tostart your career in research and to pursue a PhD degree during a four yearresearch period.
  • You have prior experience inexperimental research obtained during project or thesis work, preferably in thearea of soft matter or rheology.
  • You are able to report yourprogress in an accurate and timely fashion.
  • You have excellentcommunication skills, with fluency in both written and spoken English.
  • You are open forcollaboration with the other team members.
  • Offer
  • Full-time PhD position for fouryears with a competitive salary and additional benefits such as healthinsurance, access to university sports facilities, etc.
  • The opportunity to work andlive in one of the most innovative universities and cities in Europe. Leuven islocated 20 min from Brussels, in the centre of Europe.
  • International working environmentand possibility to present your work on international conferences.
  • Your research will be embedded ina world-renowned research group consisting of 5 faculty members active in thearea of soft matter rheology and technology.
  • A state-of-the-art experimentalinfrastructure.
  • A full-time employment for fouryears, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.

  • To support you during your PhDand to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will participate in theArenberg Doctoral School doctoral training program (Doctoral Training – Arenberg Doctoral School (

  • Interested?

    Candidates can apply by submitting their CV, motivation letter and gradelists via the online application tool. Please also include the names andcontact details of at least two senior researchers that are willing to write aletter of recommendation upon request.

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Erin Koos, tel.: +32 16 37 63 47, mail: [email protected] or Prof. dr. Ruth Cardinaels, tel.: +32 16 32 16 88, mail: [email protected]

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected]

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