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Programming polymers

Radical polymerisations play a key role in both commercial and fundamental research with it being in 45% of international polymer production at 100 million tons per year.However, radical polymerizations still suffer from synthetic drawbacks like all-carbon polymer backbones, which largely prevent their (bio)degradability.In this project, we will develop novel polymers which can be programmed towards a controlled degradability. Towards this goal, you will develop a polymerization technique that allows to incorporate small natural building blocks (i.e. peptides) into synthetic polymers. …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

A golden approach to nanomedicine. Gold-polymer hybrid nanoparticles

Gold, a precious metal, is also highly valued for the production of highly functional nanoparticles.Gold nanoparticles interact with light and microwaves to generate heat and light, which can be used in nanomedicine for therapy or imaging. This project will look at developing polymer-gold hybrid nanoparticles to improve disease delivery and therapy. This project involves:polymer synthesismaterials formulation characterisation. …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Fighting slime with nitroxides and polymers

Biofilms, more commonly recognised as slime, are complex communities of microorganisms, which provide these creatures with a niche where they are able to flourish in conditions where they might not normally survive.Because of this enhanced survivability, bacterial biofilms show enhanced resistance to disinfectant and antibiotic treatment, and are the cause of nearly three quarters of hospital acquired infections. Nitroxides, molecules that possess a stabilised free radical, are able to disperse these biofilms and make them susceptible to treatment.Our research group …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Encapsulation of adsorbents in polymeric beads

Not all adsorbent materials synthesised have the ideal physical properties for water treatment applications. Therefore, this research will investigate the performance of adsorbents encapsulated in polymeric beads and methods for improving capacity.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Biological engineering of waste into functional fungal mycelial composites

This project aims to take a waste material and repurpose it using fungal mycelial mats to penetrate and bind the organic compounds.Numerous residues from agriculture and the urban lifestyle comprise of carbon polymeric chains that are accessible to fungi. Fungi grow on and within these structures and can generate a bound matrix that has notably different properties. Various fungal strains will be assessed fro growth and colonization of various agricultural residues (e.g. sugarcane trash, bagasse, paunch) and urban waste (cardboard, …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Synthesis of robust desalination membranes with high water permeability

The aim of this project is to use in-situ polymerisation to create an interpenetrated network of hydrophilic polymer within the less hydrophilic support layer of desalination membranes. Increased hydrophilicity is expected to increase water flux and hence desalination efficiency without a negative effect on water permeability.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Synthesis of thin film composite membranes with high salt rejection for desalination

The aim of this project is to create a very thin layer of polyamide on ultrafiltration membrane supports. Ultrafiltration membranes will be fabricated and examined in laboratory scale mimicking virus removal process in the water industry.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Synthesis of electode materials for all carbon based batteries

Chemical batteries are listed in the top five key energy technologies ahead of others such as:natural gaswind turbineshydrogenelectric motors.We are currently investigating the use of polymers containing free-radicals as avenues to produce environmentally friendly, lightweight and durable materials for the fabrication of printed carbon batteries or as a catholyte in redox flow batteries.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Advanced photoresists for 3D laser lithography

Some estimates state that 30% of all manufactured goods will be 3D printed in 2030. A particular type of 3D printing is 3D laser lithography with which micro- and nano-sized structures can be prepared. Such structures find wide ranging applications in meta-materials functioning as invisibility cloaks or scaffolds for single (stem) cell interrogation. Today’s inks for 3D printing, however, only allow one material property to be written with one laser wavelength. This project will develop – in close collaboration with …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Advanced characterisation of polymer-modified surfaces

Surfaces of any kind which are modified with a thin layer of polymer are of increasing interest to scientist and industry. Therefore, advanced characterisation of these modified surfaces is of paramount importance to better understand the synthetic strategies for tailored surface modification.

Study level
PhD, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Development of green paints from lignin

Lignin is the most abundant renewable source of natural aromatic building blocks on which the chemical industry could heavily rely on if cost-effective conversion processes can be developed. The aim of this project is develop paint formulations from lignin derived materials.We have recently designed lignin-based materials that allows the use of mini-emulsion polymerisation technique to produce paints. Hitherto, the complex nature of lignin, insolubility in organic solvents, and its ability to act as a free radical scavenger in emulsion polymerization …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Cloning of genes of industrially important thermostable enzymes from thermophilic bacteria isolated from the Great Artesain Basin of Australia

DNA polymerases used in the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) are heat stable enzymes produced by extremophilic microbes and have a wide range of applications in molecular biology.Heat stable enzymes referred to as extremozymes also have potential applications in the food and chemical industries due to the much faster reaction rates of chemical / enzyme reactions at high as opposed to ambient or mesophilic temperatures. In other cases, there is a decrease in viscosity at high temperatures e.g starch, which renders …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences

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