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Exploring Magnesium Chemistry – From Reactive Precursors To Synthetic Minerals

Supervisor: Richard Walton (Chemistry) Sponsor: BYK

This PhD project is in collaboration with BYK R&D in Widnes, UK. The aim is to understand how solution chemistry can be used to tailor the formation of magnesium materials that are precursors to industrial products used in various technologies related to additives in coatings. This includes a study of nanostructured magnesium hydroxides and basic magnesium salts with and without additional organic ligands.

The project explores systematically the corresponding chemistries of magnesium-bearing materials in order to control key parameters, crucial for their industrial application. The project pays particular attention to hydrothermal methods of Mg-based material synthesis, looking for unique advantages over other synthetic approaches.

A range of methods for characterising the colloidal and solid-state materials is under development. This project spans the full range of analytical techniques at Warwick, including X-ray diffraction and small-angle X-ray scattering, light scattering, thermogravimetric analysis and electron microscopy. It will also be of interest to advance various measurements for accessing relative reactivity of Mg precursors in aqueous medium, and so an emphasis is placed on in situ methods for characterisation.

As a part of industrial training, the Ph.D. researcher working on this project is given an opportunity to conduct scale-up and to test some of the most promising candidate materials in the research laboratory at the BYK R&D centre in Widnes.

This position has now been filled.