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Sustainable materials for biomedical devices

The Coronavirus Pandemic has seen unprecedented demand for breathing masks most of which are made from non-recyclable fossil fuel-derived plastics, contributing huge amounts of PVC waste to the Global Plastic Pollution Problem.

This project will involve the research and development of sustainable breathing masks for clinical use, in collaboration with a large International UK-based manufacturer (Intersurgical Ltd). The project will aim to design, prototype and test new products including small scale manufacture. Engagement with all stakeholders to ensure the product meets regulatory requirements and needs of the manufacturer and healthcare sector, whilst minimising resource demand, waste generation and ultimately producing less plastic waste to the environment than current PVC breathing masks.

The project aims to generate an integrated solution for the sustainable procurement, distribution, transport and disposal of the product developed to maximise the benefit for all stakeholders. Product packaging, transport and end-of-life (disposal/recycling) will be researched and optimised to minimise environmental impact over the whole life cycle.

This project will be employing skills such as computer-aided design (CAD), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA software) and finite element analysis (FEA), material selection software (e.g. CES Edupack), 3D printing, materials testing, lean manufacturing and Life Cycle Costing (LCC), Sustainability Assessment (ideally suited to those with the following background; Material Scientists, Chemists, Engineers). 

Please prepare a short research statement highlighting where your personal and practical skills would be an asset to this project and how undertaking a PhD and in this field of work, would complement your career plans.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.