PhD Electrospunbound porous membrane adsorbers for water purification & reuse

PhD Electrospunbound porous membrane adsorbers for water purification & reuse

Published Deadline Location
11 Mar 7 Jul Eindhoven

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Job description

In these times where circularity and accessibility to safe drinking and irrigation water is becoming increasingly important and under pressure, (membrane)adsorption is an attractive method to attack water scarcity by selectively removing harmful micropollutants and undesired components from the water cycle such that polluted water can be safely reused. The application of membrane adsorbers is sustainable and contributes to a circular economy with a focus on recovery and reuse of valuable resources. The aim of this research is the development of a green platform to design and prepare membrane adsorbers.

Details of the PhD-project

Membrane adsorbers are porous structures (polymer matrix) with specific functionalities that selectively adsorb and remove undesired components from water sources. As both the type of matrix material and its morphology as well as the specific functionalities can be selected independently, membrane adsorption is a very versatile technology applicable for the purification or recovery of a multitude of different feed streams and applications.  The approach proposed here is founded on nanofiber electrospinning using water or green solvent soluble polymers with intrinsic functionalities to prepare porous hierarchical structures in one single step with tunable properties for specific separations. Electrospinning is a fiber production method that uses an electrical voltage to generate fibers from a polymer solution that are collected on a removable support forming a highly porous fibrous mat. The thickness, porosity and pore size can be easily tailored towards a specific application. The green solvent par excellence is water and ideally water-soluble polymers or bio-polymers are used to prepare electrospunbound membrane adsorbers. Additionally, the adsorption selectivity can be easily tailored by dispersing active particles to the polymer solution followed by co-electrospinning or by post functionalisation of the obtained nanofibers. Developed electrospun absorber mats are used to make membrane adsorber modules by stacking or wrapping the mats followed by performance characterization and evaluation in artificial and real industrial aqueous environments. This project contributes to increasing the fundamental knowledge about electrospinning and the embedding of adsorption functionality, meanwhile increasing the effectiveness of the membrane adsorption technology and the availability of clean and safe drinking water.

Membrane Materials and Processes at Eindhoven University of Technology

The research will be conducted at the research group Membrane Materials and Processes (MM/P) part of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e (The Netherlands).

The research group MM/P focuses on the design, development, characterization and application of polymer membranes to control mass transport in sustainable processes. The research combines and integrates materials chemistry, materials engineering and process technology. Application areas are water and energy, with a strong focus on the recovery and reuse of resources, the valorization of waste streams and energy efficiency. 'Closing cycles' and 'value from waste' are leading themes in the research program. Next to fundamental academic research, application-oriented research in close collaboration with the industry is stimulated.

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.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • We are looking for a talented, motivated and enthusiastic researcher
  • Preferably, candidates have a strong background and interest in both chemistry and chemical engineering with experience in synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry and materials engineering or mechanical engineering.
  • Candidates should have a scientific attitude combined with a hands-on mentality and interest for application-oriented research at industrial partner locations
  • Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are valuable properties
  • You are a naturally curious person who is eager to learn more and has a strong interest in research.
  • Excellent communication skills in English are a prerequisite.
  • We prefer candidates with a good team spirit, who like to work in an internationally oriented, social environment.

An interview, a scientific presentation and a writing assignment are part of the selection procedure.
Candidates possessing both suitable experience and qualifications are invited to apply.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Fulltime employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V37.7320


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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