£29,301 to £32,004 per annum
Full Time - Fixed Term until 30/09/2019
Friday 08 September 2017
To be confirmed
Research fellow - New materials to prevent thermal runaway and thermally accelerated degradation of lithium batteries
We are looking for a Research Fellow to work on materials that will improve the safety of lithium batteries, a key priority in battery development. Complex reactions that result in drastic local temperature changes within the batteries can lead to the much feared thermal runway, which is characterized by the fast self-heating of the battery at a rate higher than ca. 10°C/min, which eventually reaches trigger temperatures at which materials melt, chemicals undergo uncontrolled and exothermic reactions, and the cell can catch fire or explode. A range of external safety measures are commonly implemented in batteries and battery packs in order to stop the thermal runaway, such as thermal fuses, vent caps, shutdown separators, etc.
This project will investigate the development of new materials and new electrode designs to effectively stop any significant local temperature change anywhere inside the battery. This will prevent thermal runway at the root, as well as potentially improving the battery lifetime by mitigating the side-reactions that usually accompany the mechanical and chemical stresses associated to local temperature changes. The conductive additive that is usually incorporated in the composite electrodes (to increase the conductivity and assure that the current is homogeneously distributed inside the whole electrode) will be substituted by smart inorganic materials. A detailed fundamental electrochemical characterization will be performed to elucidate the interplay between temperature and current in the newly designed electrode structures and compositions. Hence the key skills we are looking for in the Research Fellow are in inorganic materials synthesis/characterisation and in electrochemistry, ideally in lithium batteries.
This post is suitable for chemists or materials scientists with a PhD* or equivalent professional qualifications and a strong background in inorganic materials and/or electrochemistry. The successful candidate will have a good publication record, be flexible and enjoy working in the lab.
The University of Southampton is ranked in the top 1% of world universities and it is placed in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The department of Chemistry at Southampton was ranked 8th in the UK for research power in REF2014 and 4th in the UK for Chemistry in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014, and offers a full range of world-class facilities (mass spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, microscopy, battery assembly, etc.) which will be available for the project, with further capabilities provided by our project partners at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
The project is part of a collaboration between Chemistry and Engineering at Southampton, and scaling up and further testing of the materials will be done in Engineering. For informal enquiries about the project, please contact Professor Andrew Hector (A.L.Hector@soton.ac.uk ) or Dr Nuria Garcia-Araez (N.Garcia-Araez@soton.ac.uk ).
*Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD. Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.
You should submit your completed online application form at www.jobs.soton.ac.uk . Please include a covering letter and full CV in your application.
The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Geraldine Lewis (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 2507. Please quote reference 905217EB on all correspondence.
We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.
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