Researcher

Last application date
Jun 30, 2019 13:58
Department
TW11 - Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering
Employment category
Research staff group 3
Contract
Limited duration
Degree
Master in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering Technology or Chemical Engineering
Occupancy rate
100%
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

2-year research project This research project can be the start of a PhD (additional funding will be requested).

The researcher will work on a Catalisti ICON project, titled ‘BIORESAL’ (BIO-based RESins from Aldehydes and Lignin ) in the INCAT (Industrial Catalysis and Adsorption Technology) research group of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture.

Phenolic resins are successfully used in a variety of industrial applications, among others automotive, coatings, varnish, adhesives, construction and insulation foam panels. The phenolic resin manufacturing industry is however facing concerns about human health, safety and depletion of fossil resources, due to the use of the phenol and formaldehyde in their production process. Therefore, there is an urging drive to find sustainable and safer alternatives to these basic building blocks. Lignin derived oligomers could be a viable alternative in view of their chemical resemblance and availability. This project aims to develop and produce bio-based phenolic resins with lignin-derived oligomers and aldehydes as safer, less toxic and sustainable alternative building blocks for phenol and formaldehyde. Lignin-derived oligomeric fractions (and polymer fractions) that are yet available, will be chemically modified to increase the number of functional groups (e.g. –OH groups) to achieve increased reactivity with aldehydes or phenol and to comply with the required lignin derivative specifications. Procedures need to be developed for the chemical modification of lignin fractions. The modified lignin oligomers (and polymers) need to be characterized in order to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the increase of functional groups as compared to the unmodified lignin fractions. Furthermore, the modified lignin fractions (oligomers/polymers) will be evaluated in the lab-scale production of lignin-based resins and will be compared with benchmarking phenolic resins without lignin. Finally, the scale-up of the most successful chemical modification of lignin oligomers is planned.

The research will be conducted under supervision of prof. dr. ir. An Verberckmoes, prof. dr. ir. Jeriffa De Clercq and dr. ir. Jeroen Lauwaert (INCAT, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, University Ghent).

The starting date of the position is July 1, 2019 or soon after.

Profile of the candidate

For this project the INCAT group is searching for a person with the following background/expertise:

• Excellent knowledge of organic chemistry and instrumental analysis

• Good knowledge of polymer chemistry/synthesis

• Basic knowledge of design of experiments

How to apply

If you are interested please send your cv and motivation letter to prof. An Verberckmoes by email (an.verberckmoes@ugent.be).