Supervisors: Pat Unwin and Richard Walton
The aim of this project is to gain new fundamental understanding of the mechanism of seeding in the crystallisation of gypsum. Seeding is widely used to accelerate the manufacture of gypsum to offer efficacy and more energy-efficient production, but its use is largely based on empirical knowledge. Seed crystals may vary between different manufacturing sites and may depend on the choice of raw materials. In general, across materials science, there is lack of fundamental knowledge of the role of seeds and their mechanism of action. Part of the reason for this is the difficulty in selecting an experimental method for studying structural evolution from the nanoscale to the microscale, in solid-liquid mixtures, where crystallinity may be low and the solid-liquid interface must be probed. Here, we proposed to combine novel electrochemical methods developed in Warwick for understanding and controlling crystal growth on the nanoscale, with a broad range of advanced characterisation tools available in Warwick’s Research Technology Platforms, including X-ray methods (diffraction and small angle scattering), Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy. The combined expertise of the two academic leads, spanning technique development, interfacial chemistry and kinetics and characterisation of solid-state materials will provide a basis for developing new insights into fundamental aspects of crystallisation, including the effect of additives.
For further details please contact Professor Richard Walton:
Start date: 27 September 2021