PhD position on Structurally colored waterborne and biobased coatings

Updated: over 1 year ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 24 Oct 2022

This project is to be carried out at TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology and is funded by the Advanced Research Center - Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC).

Coatings are intuitively associated with color which can be used for decoration, branding or to give a certain emotional impression, like the cold/warm sensation in a painted room. Color in coatings is typically achieved with particles (pigments) of inorganic or organic nature. Many of these pigments are, however, toxic, non-degradable, heat-sensitive, reactive or very expensive. It is now crucial to replace it by more sustainable and biocompatible materials, as well as to develop new strategies to reach either multicolor(s) or plain white color.

While bio-inspiration may be taken from Nature, like the structural colors effect of the widely studied blue butterfly or white beetles, materials and methods that can be scaled up, maintain high performance and be commercialized in an economic/viable way need to be considered. Furthermore, future coating formulations should be biobased and/or use renewable raw materials to comply with the paints and coatings industry sustainability targets.

Details of the PhD-project (4-years)

This project aims to investigate how to incorporate structural colours on waterborne (WB) biobased coatings. Some of the activities involved will be synthesis of polymers and/or liquid crystals and cholesteric networks, polymerization in aqueous media, chemical/physical characterization of polymers and coatings, and interfacial studies of colloids and soft matter. This research is expected to lead to more sustainable, economic and safe coloured coatings, and also create opportunities to fundamentally understand and control several processes occurring during application and drying of WB and biobased coloured paints, such as self-stratification and phase-separation.

The research will be conducted in close collaboration between two TU/e research groups: Physical Chemistry (SPC) and Stimuli-Responsive Functional Materials& Devices (SFD) which are part of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e (The Netherlands). A description of the groups can be found here. Collaborations are expected with ARC CBBC members and industrial partners, such as AkzoNobel and BASF.

The TU/e offers academic education that is driven by fundamental and applied research. We combine scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Our educational philosophy is based on personal attention and room for individual ambitions and talents. Our research meets the highest international standards of quality. We push the limits of science, which puts us at the forefront of rapidly emerging areas of research.

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