PhD student on dynamic cellulose composite materials

Empa Materials Science and Technology
December 15, 2022
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Empa - the place where innovation starts

Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.

Our Laboratory of Cellulose & Wood Materials has an opening for a PhD student position on the functionalization of nanocellulose and matrix polymers to enable reversible and dynamic assembly of composite materials.

PhD student on dynamic cellulose composite materials

Together with our team of experienced scientists, postdocs and PhD students, you will contribute to the development of the next generation of sustainable biocomposite materials. This project is part of a large international research centre in collaboration with Denmark Technical University and University of Copenhagen and bridges our activities in the fields of nanocelluloses, proteins and chemical and physical surface functionalization. The goal of the PhD project is to investigate, at a fundamental level, how reversible interactions between nanocelluloses, proteins and polymer matrices can be tuned to trigger assembly, dis-assembly, and re-assembly of materials. We envision that the generated knowledge will advance the field of biocomposite materials and lead to the discovery of novel concepts that can aid material and component recycovery and improve materials robustness (e.g. recyclability, repair).

Your responsibilities

  • Extract and characterize nanocellulose from sugar beet biomass and develop nanocellulose functionalization protocols relying on chemical and physical modifications.
  • Study the stability, morphological and colloidal properties of the functionalized nanocelluloses at interfaces and in bulk.
  • Characterize triggered assembly of nanocellulose materials using state-of- the art techniques.
  • Investigate possibilities to integrate functionalized nanocellulose with polymer matrices to demonstrate concepts for reversible composite materials.
  • Publish in peer-reviewed high-impact factor journals and present at international conferences.
  • Your profile

  • MSc in Materials science, Chemical engineering or related disciplines.
  • Demonstrated aptitude for scientific creativity and non-conventional thinking.
  • Fluent in written and oral English.
  • Self-motivated, critical-thinking, open-minded and communicative, with a strong interest to work in an international and interdisciplinary research environment.
  • The position

    We offer a fully funded PhD position at Empa. The student will be enrolled at University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and affiliated to the group of Prof. Peter Ulvskov. The core of the PhD project will be conducted at Empa with shorter stays at UCPH. Empa supports equal opportunities such as the compatibility of work and other life areas and lives a culture of inclusion and respect. We are committed to increase the diversity of our team and encourage qualified people from all backgrounds and genders to apply for this position. Applications are open immediately and the starting date is January 2023 or upon mutual agreement.

    For further information about the position please contact Dr. Gustav Nyström gustav.nystroem@empa.ch and Prof. Peter Ulvskov ulvskov@plen.ku.dk, and visit our websites www. empa.ch/web/s302 and Empa-Video

    We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas with transcripts and contact details of two referees. Please upload the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.

    Empa, Patricia Nitzsche, Human Resources, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.

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