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Sustainable products & processes - help industry ditch the plastic and toxic chemicals!

This project offers the right candidate a £5000 bursary contribution in the first year only. Please contact the supervisor for more detail.

Material and energy used for making products can have significant adverse environmental, health and safety and or socioeconomic impacts. Life cycle analysis (LCA) and life cycle sustainability assessments (LCSA) help to understand where these impacts lie in the product life cycle so we can pinpoint the best intervention to mitigate impacts.

Once you identify the culprits you will research alternative more sustainable materials using materials properties databases and then model them against existing material properties. The nest alternatives will be subject to mechanical testing using state-of-the-art facilities (e.g. including nano structural properties via TEM microscopy). Or your actions may be to propose alternative manufacturing processes using less energy.

End of life treatment - an opportunity for re-use, repurposing and recycling may also be the means to improve the product/process under study. Currently, we have 3 key cases we are tackling with companies, in which you can get involved:

  1. Fossil fuel plastics and toxic plasticising chemicals in Medical Devices
  2. Carcinogenic chrome sacrificial coatings for high wear applications (Aerospace MRO & Automotive sectors)
  3. Carbon fibre composite waste time-bomb in aircraft manufacture.

Applicants should ideally have a materials or engineering background. You will have access to software tools used in industry for LCA and LCSA and material selection, FEA and Material selection. Knowledge of LCA theory, LCA software, FEA and manufacturing methods are a bonus.

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 would 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 partially funded topic

This project offers the right candidate a £5000 bursary contribution in the first year only. Please contact the supervisor for more detail.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Gera Troisi - Dr Gera M. Troisi is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering and Design at Brunel University London since 2001, delivering undergraduate and postgraduate modules on Environmental, Health & Safety  Management towards Sustainable Engineering Solutions. She has supervised several postgraduate students to successful completion of PhD-doctoral degrees, MPhil and MRes. She is a Chartered Toxicologist-Ecotoxicologist (UK & Europe) and is a member of the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) which advises on the classification, labelling and restriction of chemicals within the European Union under the REACH and CLP regulations. Her principal research interests are environmental toxicology of humans and wildlife (ecotoxicology, endocrine disruption, biomonitoring, biosensors, environmental analysis); Risk Assessment and Aquaculture. She has over 40 research publications covering these disciplines. She has coordinated a number of research and consultancy projects related to environmental toxicology funded by both non-governmental (RSPCA, WWF, Care for the Wild, Greenpeace) and governmental agencies (DEFRA) and industry (Safeway, Slimming Systems Ltd and Lufthansa-Hawker Pacific Aerospace). Before beginning her career in academia, Dr Troisi worked as a Senior Scientific Officer in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Institute for Environment & Health. She holds a doctorate degree in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Essex and is a member of the British and European Toxicology Societies. Dr Troisi offers the following consultancy services: Medical Device Risk Management; Environmental Risk Assessment; Health Risk Assessment; Ecological Risk Assessment; Life Cycle Analysis; Environmental Impact Assessment; Health and Ecological Impacts; Laboratory analysis of environmental pollutants (polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and metabolites (Methyl sulphones), pesticides, heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); emergent pollutants (brominated flame retardants)) drugs and biologically-active compounds (steroid hormones).